New detection method leads to possible marker for prostate cancer

Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have found a new, promising marker for diagnosing prostate cancer, hopefully leading to fewer "false positives" that plague current methods of diagnosis. The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the study, blood levels of prostasomes seem to correlate more closely with the severity of the disease than do PSA levels, the current biomarker used for prostate cancer diagnosis, says researcher Masood Kamali-Moghaddam, in a news release.

Prostasomes are the name given to a tiny membrane-coated particle in semen. The researchers hypothesize that when prostate cancer is present, these prostasomes end up in the surrounding cancer tissue rather than in semen. So, elevated levels of prostasomes could mean the presence of prostate cancer. Up until now, the researchers say, it has not been possible to detect prostasomes in blood. But, thanks to a unique test they devised that involves several different antibodies simultaneously recognizing proteins on the surface of the prostasomes, detection is now possible.

"We are hopeful that this type of marker will prove valuable not only for prostate cancer but also in several other common tumor types," said Kamali-Moghaddam.

- read the release from Uppsala University
- and the abstract in PNAS

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