New Prostate Cancer Blood Test Decreases Need for Biopsy

Blood test three times more specific in detection of prostate cancer than prostate-specific antigen.

Blood test three times more specific in detection of prostate cancer than prostate-specific antigen.

A new blood test for the detection of prostate cancer may reduce the need for a biopsy in men with elevated prostate-specific antigens (PSA), according to a recent study.

The Prostate Health Index (phi) test by Beckman Coulter Diagnostics was touted as a simple, non‐invasive procedure that is 3 times more specific in prostate cancer detection than PSA, which is the most often used test to screen for the disease. The PSA test, however, frequently can give a false indication prostate cancer.

“The PSA test is based on the fact that men with higher levels of the PSA protein are more likely to have prostate cancer,” said William Catalona, MD, principal investigator on the Prostate Health Index clinical study in a press release. “However, the problem is that higher levels of PSA can also be caused by a benign enlargement or inflammation of the prostate, leading to many false‐positives for cancer and ultimately unnecessarily invasive biopsies and an increased potential for patient harm.”

The phi test helps distinguish prostate cancer from benign conditions through the use of 3 separate PSA markers with an algorithm that provides a more reliable determination for the probability of cancer in patients with elevated PSA levels, according to Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. In a multi‐center clinical study, researchers found a 31% reduction in unnecessary biopsies as a result of false‐positives through utilization of the phi test.

“We have seen first‐hand how phi is much more accurate and reduces the need for prostate biopsies. And, the fact that phi is a simple blood test has been very appealing to our patients,” Kevin Slawin, MD, a key researcher in the development of the test, said in a press release.

For more information on the Prostate Index Test click here.