New Prostate Cancer Screening Test Could Reduce Biopsies

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A new prostate cancer screening test known as IsoPSA could reduce the number of prostate biopsies that are performed by 50 percent and thus save many men from unnecessary treatment that is associated with life-altering side effects. This new test is better able than the current PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test to distinguish prostate cancer from benign prostate conditions as well as identify which men have more aggressive prostate cancer.

The authors of the new study point out that the traditional PSA is tissue-specific rather than cancer-specific. This characteristic leads to over-diagnosis and over-treatment of low-risk and otherwise insignificant cancers.

The developers of the new test explain that the IsoPSA is a serum-based assay that can predict the risk of prostate cancer by separating isoforms of PSA using a water-based two-phase substance. This process provides clinicians with more accurate information than the current controversial PSA test, which frequently produces inaccurate results. These results then prompt doctors to recommend their patients undergo prostate biopsy or surgery, both of which can lead to life-altering side effects such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

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Use of the IsoPSA was tested in 261 men drawn from five academic and community centers across the United States who were scheduled for prostate biopsy. Analysis of the test results indicated that use of IsoPSA was able to

  • discriminate between prostate cancer and benign prostatic conditions
  • identify which men had more aggressive prostate cancer
  • demonstrate a 48 percent reduction in false-positive biopsies and a 45 percent reduction in false-positives among men at low risk of high-grade prostate cancer

The authors concluded that the IsoPSA prostate cancer screening test was superior to the current PSA and “could significantly reduce unnecessary biopsies while identifying patients needing treatment.”

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


Klein EA et al. The single-parameter, structure-based IsoPSA assay demonstrates improved diagnostic accuracy for detection of any prostate cancer and high-grade prostate cancer compared to a concentration-based assay of total prostate-specific antigen: a preliminary report. European Urology 2017 Apr 7