A new, non-invasive prostate screening in the form of a urine test can help determine the need for more invasive treatments like biopsies in at-risk patients — while also saving thousands of dollars in US health care costs per patient.
SelectMDx and its Potential for Cancer Treatment
The new urine screening, named SelectMDx by its creators, is designed to be used as a second step in prostate cancer diagnosis. SelectMDx is used after a patient presents with elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is one early warning sign of possible prostate-related medical conditions.
SelectMDx can help determine if there is indeed a tumor present in a patient’s prostate, and furthermore can provide data on the likelihood that this tumor will be clinically significant. In the latter case, this would support the decision to have a physical biopsy done on the patient’s prostate to gather more information on the nature of the tumor.
How SelectMDx Saves Time and Money
The traditional treatment methods for prostate cancer begin with a PSA screening and then, if significantly elevated levels of PSA are found, a physical biopsy of the prostate. However, while high PSA levels are an indicator of prostate health problems, the test lacks the specificity to determine just how serious these issues are. This results in a relatively high number of false positives that lead to biopsy procedures that turn out to have been needless.
Including SelectMDx in the process, though, takes some of the guesswork out of high PSA test results. If SelectMDx returns normal results, the likelihood of the patient developing a malignant tumor are considered below the threshold to need a biopsy. It’s only in cases where SelectMDx discovers abnormalities that a biopsy may be needed.
Researchers behind the new test estimate that a cost savings of around $1600 per patient can be realized. Multiplied over the hundreds of thousands of patients that undergo prostate health biopsies every year in the United States that turn out to be unnecessary, researchers estimate total cost savings could help reduce the approximately $12 billion spent in prostate treatment annually in the US.