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Urine test may improve prostate screening

Analysis might shed light on iffy PSA scores

4:42pm, August 3, 2011

Every year hundreds of thousands of men getting a physical examination find themselves in a gray zone, showing signs of prostate cancer on a common blood test. A new urine analysis might clarify which of these men is most at risk and should take the more definitive, and invasive, step of getting a prostate biopsy.

Beyond a physical exam of the prostate, the standard screening method for prostate cancer is a blood test that measures levels of a protein called prostate specific antigen, or PSA. Although it’s a rough measure at best, an elevated PSA score is enough to send 600,000 to 1 million U.S. men each year to get a biopsy.

Writing in the Aug. 3 Science Translational Medicine, scientists who devised a test based on levels of two compounds detectable in urine found that the combination may serve as a marker of cancer and take some of the guesswork out of interpreting PSA scores, which are often unreliable in predicting malignancies.

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