Researchers find signposts to prostate cancer
A US research team has identified genetic markers that may lead to a more reliable test for prostate cancer in the future.
Currently, prostate cancer diagnosis is based on a blood test called the PSA test, which does not always offer definitive results.
This has resulted in criticism that it can lead to unnecessary surgery.
"This is good news in an area where our ability to diagnose and predict has previously been less than stellar," said Dr Krishna Donkena of the Mayo Clinic, which conducted the research, which was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
"Our only tool is the PSA test, which has little predictive value. These findings move us closer to a more accurate test."
The search for a reliable prostate cancer test is complicated by the need for it to be affordable, effective and easy to use.
The Mayo Clinic team looked at differences in gene activity between normal cells and prostate cancer cells. They identified over six hundred genes that showed differences in activity in cancer cells.
Further work identified eight of these which they believe have potential to be used to test for prostate cancer reliably.
The researchers added that the work is still at an early stage and needs to be confirmed in much larger studies.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK, with more than 30,100 new cases diagnosed every year.