A new study supports a previous one: epigenetic test enhances predictive power for prostate cancer

Related articles

cancer cellsA report in the Journal of Urology details the cellular assessment of samples of prostate cancer tissue obtained on biopsies from 350 men in five U.S. medical centers. This retrospective analysis of the tissue samples was further compared to outcomes after repeat biopsies were obtained in all the study subjects within two years of the original biopsies, attempting to discern the predictive value of certain markers for recurrence or its absence.

The multicenter team was led by Dr. A. W. Partin of the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. (Some of the researchers were in the employ of the company which developed the methodology, MDxHealth, Inc., Irvine, CA). The new research, called the Detection of Cancer Using Methylated Events in Negative Tissue (DOCUMENT) study, suggests that an initial biopsy complemented with an epigenetic diagnostic test accurately rules out the existence of cancer up to 88 percent of the time. The test specifically captures the presence of chemical modifications to non-nuclear DNA sequences within cells that commonly appear when prostate cancer is present. These so-called epigenetic changes alter the way genes function without changing their foundational DNA sequence.

Often, one biopsy is not enough to definitively rule out prostate cancer," study researcher Jonathan Epstein, M.D., also with the Johns Hopkins Division of Surgical Pathology, told ScienceDaily. "Our research finds that by looking for the presence or absence of cancer in a different way, we may be able to offer many men peace of mind without putting them through the pain, bleeding and risk of infection that can come with a repeat biopsy."