Semen test may improve prostate cancer detection

A new study has discovered biomarkers in seminal fluid that may improve the accuracy of prostate cancer diagnosis, according to Medical News Today.

Currently, prostate cancer— one of the most common cancers in men and a major cause of cancer-related deaths— is detected by using prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. While the test is very sensitive, it is not highly specific for prostate cancer, which can lead to over-diagnosis and unnecessary procedures.

"Biomarkers that can accurately detect prostate cancer at an early stage and identify aggressive tumors are urgently needed to improve patient care," said lead author Dr. Luke Selth, of the Prostate Cancer Foundation in the US.

In new research published in the journal Endocrine-Related Cancer, researchers analyzed seminal fluid samples from 60 men. They found that increased levels of small molecules, called microRNAs, were “surprisingly accurate” at detecting prostate cancer and could even differentiate between low and higher grade tumors.

"This is important," Selth said, "because, as a potential prognostic tool, it will help to indicate the urgency and type of treatment required."

Researchers said the next step is to validate their results with a larger study, but noted that microRNAs could be used for clinical application in a range of bodily fluids.

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