An Advance for Using PSA to Diagnose Prostate Cancer

Categories: Spring 2006

team1Dr. Catalona has built upon his findings to discover various components of PSA

One of the most serious dilemmas in diagnosing prostate cancer is that the PSA test, recognized first by Dr. Catalona as an invaluable tool for early detection of prostate cancer, cannot indicate whether the cancer is aggressive or a slower-growing one.

Since recognizing the usefulness of PSA to detect prostate cancer in the early 90s , Dr. Catalona has built upon his initial findings to discover various components of PSA (i.e. PSA velocity, % freePSA, pro-PSA) that assist in the decisions for biopsy and in the predictions for behavior of the cancer.

Now, diagnostics maker Beckman Coulter Incorporated has worked with Dr. Catalona to develop a desk-size machine that, in initial development, can detect two distinct forms of the prostate specific antigen. One form is associated with a more aggressive prostate cancer that usually calls for immediate treatment; the other is associated more with benign prostate disease that may allow for more time to begin treatment and to more accurately predict outcomes of treatment options.

Dr. Catalona and his collaborators at Northwestern University and Baylor College will begin testing the device’s accuracy within the next few months. They will use it to measure the distinct forms of PSA on stored blood samples from patients whose outcome is already known and on current patients whose outcomes will be carefully documented.

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