prostate cancer

Using Old Test in a New Way

Swedish researchers say a simple blood test for men when they turn 60 could save many lives from prostate cancer, while avoiding unnecessary and risky treatment.

Unlike many other countries, Sweden does not routinely offer tests for prostate cancer. The argument is that the current PSA test results in too many false positives.

But the newspaper "Svenska ´Dagbladet" reports that a new study involving Skåne’s University Hospitals in Lund and Malmö and New York’s Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center indicates that a blood test at 60 can accurately forecast the risk of a patient suffering from a terminal prostate cancer.

According to a press release from Sloan Kettering, the new data suggests a baseline PSA could determine who should and should not continue to be screened for prostate cancer.

"We were hoping to find a novel marker," the press release quotes lead researchers Andrew Vickers andd Hans Lilja. "What we found instead was a new way of using an old test."

According to the study, 126 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and of those, 90 percent of deaths occurred in men in the top 25 percent of PSA levels at age 60. The researchers concluded that men with a PSA level above 2 ng/ml at age 60 should be considered at increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and should continue to be screened regularly.

The study has been published in the “British Medical Journal”.