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Improving prostate cancer screening

  • Researcher: Professor Lambertus Kiemeney
  • Institution: Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center
  • Award Amount: £196,954 for 4 years from June 2010
  • Cancer Type: Prostate Cancer
Improving prostate cancer screening
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in the UK. It is estimated that 5-10% of cases are due to faulty genes passed on from our parents. Faults in two particular genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2, appear to cause a higher risk of prostate cancer and men with faulty BRCA2 genes also tend to develop the more aggressive forms of the disease which have lower survival rates. The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test helps detect prostate cancer but it is not perfect. Although the test has helped decrease the number of deaths from prostate cancer by around 20% it also leads to over-detection and over-treatment for many men who would have continued living a normal and full life, usually when they have mild forms of this cancer. However, men at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, and particularly the more aggressive form, for example those with faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, may be more likely to benefit from PSA screening. Professor Kiemeney is conducting a study looking at the use of the PSA test for men with different faults in their BRCA genes along with a second screening test for prostate cancer which detects the molecule PCA3 in urine. Professor Kiemeney will then evaluate the use of the PCA3 marker in screening high-risk families with the hope that if it is successful, it could be added to the screening programme for men with a higher risk of developing the disease.
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