psaIt is common knowledge that PSA is an important but imperfect test for detecting prostate cancer and for evaluation of treatment success.

Why Is PSA Important but Imperfect?

For screening and detecting prostate cancer the usage has become controversial as to who should have the blood test and at what age and how to respond to abnormal values. Currently for someone with a high PSA having their first prostate biopsy there is approximately a 30% chance that the biopsy will show cancer. Even then there is a burden to try to differentiate between dangerous cancers and cancers that can be watched without treatment. Prostate cancer is relatively unique that this category exists.

Are There Any New Ideas?

To try to cut down on the number of biopsies that would not show cancer, genetic testing is being tried from a number of different angles. A new theory is that many people will have a higher than normal PSA but that higher level might actually BE normal for that person and may not reflect a higher risk of cancer until that INDIVIDUAL’s PSA is even higher.

How Has This Been Determined?

A database has been analyzed from Kaiser which does lend support to this theory. I think it would take a much higher number of patients’ data to be analyzed to set up a true scale that new patient’s could be compared to with respect to their PSA and their pertinent genetic markers, but it certainly might be feasible. It appears that this is yet another approach that many researchers and companies are pursing to optimize the detection and treatment of prostate cancer. Over the coming years hopefully it will become clear which of these burgeoning tests will be the most accurate and the most helpful for men at risk of prostate cancer. Dr. Newman, a Las Vegas Urologist, is keeping up with the latest studies and is happy to see patients who want to have their PSA screened.