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Scientists develop cheap, rapid saliva test for prostate cancer  Science and health

Scientists develop cheap, rapid saliva test for prostate cancer Science and health

A new test helps in early detection of prostate cancer – Photo: Unsplash

It is estimated that the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide will double to 2.9 million per year by 2040, and that annual deaths will rise by 85%. It is already the most common form of male cancer in more than 100 countries.

Early diagnosis is crucial, but experts say current standard blood tests for PSA may not detect the disease. At the same time, it can cause some men to undergo unnecessary treatments or unnecessary additional tests, researchers say Watchman.

Now, researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research London (ICR) and the Royal Marsden NHS Trust appear to have found a better alternative.

A new saliva test, which involves collecting a DNA sample in seconds, is more accurate than the current standard blood test, a study has shown. The results will be presented this weekend at the world's largest cancer conference.

Ross Ellis, professor of cancer genetics at the ICR, said: “With this test, it will be possible to reverse the trend of prostate cancer.” Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, Iles said the breakthrough came after decades of research into genetic markers of the disease.

Scientists and doctors developed the saliva test after studying the DNA of hundreds of thousands of men. In the Barcode 1 trial, researchers recruited more than 6,000 European men to take a saliva test. They were all recruited from their doctors' offices and were between 55 and 69 years old, the age at which the risk of developing prostate cancer increases.

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After collecting saliva, the test calculated a genetic risk score (PRS) for each man. The result is based on 130 genetic variations in the DNA code associated with prostate cancer.

In those at higher genetic risk, the test showed fewer false positives than the PSA test, detected people with cancer that would not have been detected by conventional testing alone, and detected a higher proportion of aggressive cancers than the blood test. ICR said.

The test also accurately identified men with prostate cancer who were diagnosed with the help of MRI.

Eales, a consultant clinical oncologist and cancer geneticist at the Royal Marsden NHS Trust, warned that more research would be needed before the test could be widely rolled out.

“Our next step will be to test the genetic markers we have identified that are associated with prostate cancer risk in diverse populations to ensure this test can benefit all men.”

Because major risk factors for prostate cancer — such as being 50 or older and having a family history of the disease — cannot be avoided, experts believe it will be impossible to prevent the increase in cases simply through lifestyle changes or public health interventions.

However, better testing and early diagnosis can help reduce the burden and save lives. Professor Christian Heylen, CEO of the ICR, said: “When cancer is detected early, it is more likely to be curable.”