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Soon, simple, accurate non-invasive prostate cancer test

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Washington D.C: A new research has brought an accurate, highly specific test for prostate cancer closer to reality with the help of RNA sequencing.

The study on non-coding RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) from prostate cancer patients has identified a series of new prostate cancer markers which can be found in urine. Combining these RNA markers into a single test potentially opens the door for simple, accurate non-invasive testing for prostate cancer.

Current tests for prostate cancer, such as the PSA and PCA3 tests, are not particularly accurate, leading to a high level of missed cancers or false positives. A test with greater specificity and accuracy may make population screening much more viable.

The team took 64 prostate biopsy samples and read 200 million sequences from each sample. They were able to identify more than 2000 genes that showed a significant difference between tumour and control samples. Several of these showed higher specificity and sensitivity than established prostate markers.

One of these non-coding RNAs, designated TAPIR (Tumour-Associated Proliferation-Inducing RNA), also showed significant promise in halting cancer cell growth, although it is too early to know if this will translate into a clinically-useful target.

The University of Dresden’s Manfred Wirth said, “This is early work, but it is already showing results. This is a new approach to developing diagnostic tests, and comes from applying real basic science to a practical clinical problem.”

He added, “Given that our initial results show a high specificity for prostate cancer in urine tests, the prospects are good that we will be able to translate this into a better test for prostate cancer. We have several good candidate biomarkers; however, we are aiming to design a test which utilises a combination of biomarkers. This will give significantly better specificity than existing tests. Our work on RNAs is allowing us to design a completely new kind of prostate cancer test.”

This work is presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Munich.


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