Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Predicting Prostate Cancer With 98% Accuracy

Most often, conventional methods of diagnosing cancer are inadequate because cancer usually spreads at a microscopic level. In a new study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, researchers found a new blood biomarker that can predict the spread of prostate cancer with 98% accuracy.

The new procedure could help medical practitioners in predicting the spread of prostate cancer from the solid tumor site into the regional lymph nodes by measuring endoglin levels in a patient's blood. The same endoglin is the plasma biomarker that has previously helped predict the spread of colon and breast cancer.

Methods currently used to predict spread of prostate cancer are Gleason grade, prostate specific antigen, and rectal exam. However, these procedures are not adequate enough to predict which cancer will spread when lymph nodes metastases are small, but clinically significant.

While pelvic lymphadenectomy is a procedure that can provide significant staging and prognostic details, it is not universally practiced on all patients. This procedure may take so much time with potential morbidity. That is why it is important to have an accurate blood marker to identify patients who will be qualified to undergo lymphadenectomy, thus sparing patients who are at low risk.

Contributed By: Monch Bravante

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