Prostate specific antigen screenings using genetic variants may become more
accurate and cut down on unnecessary prostate biopsies, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Dr. Brian Helfand -- an adjunct assistant professor of cell and
molecular biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine -- said
personalized PSA testing using genetic variants could account for an 18 percent
reduction in the number of men who likely would have undergone unnecessary
"By utilizing a person's genetic makeup we could personalize care when he comes
in for a PSA screening," Helfand said in a statement. "We might be able to
prevent some men from having an unnecessary biopsy and prevent a delay in biopsy
for men who may have an aggressive disease."
Genetic adjustment of PSA levels did not change the outcome of the screening for
98 percent of men examined, but genetic correction was important for the 17 men
who were reclassified as no longer meeting biopsy criteria and the three whose
condition was recommended they get a biopsy, based on their genetic adjustment,
"If our results are validated, genetic adjustments could potentially prevent 15
percent to 20 percent of prostate biopsies," senior author Dr. William J.
Catalona said. "Since it has been estimated that more than 1 million biopsies
are performed in the United States annually, this could translate into 150,000
to 200,000 potentially unnecessary biopsies every year."
The findings are scheduled to be published in the May issue of The Journal of