News of the WeekCancer Screening

Genetic Analysis Points the Way to Individualized PSA Tests

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Science  17 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6011, pp. 1602
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6011.1602

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Some men with high levels of prostate-specific antigen don't have prostate cancer, leading to unnecessary biopsies, and some with low PSA levels do. PSA testing is routine in some places, yet large clinical trials in the United States and Europe are questioning how big an impact it has on reducing cancer deaths. This week, a group in Iceland suggests a new way to assess PSA results: Acknowledge that under normal circumstances some men produce more (and some produce less) PSA, and individualize healthy and high levels for each man tested by focusing on genetic variants that affect PSA levels.