New research findings led by scientists from the Mayo Clinic have revealed new molecular markers that can help predict prostate health in patients by aiding in pinpointing tumor severity in “low risk” patients.
Using Genetics to Resolve an Existing Problem
Today, one of the most often-used diagnosis tools for prostate cancer, the Gleason Score, can sometimes be imprecise when determining if a patient has a lower-risk prostate tumor or not. The issue resides in the lack of conclusive data from a needle biopsy, and the results have been that sometimes patients scoring high enough on the Gleason scale to necessitate a advanced treatment only to discover, upon biopsy of the prostate, that the procedure might have been unnecessary because of a poor Gleason reading.
In order to fine-tune the process and avoid overtreatment of prostate cancers, scientists from the Mayo Clinic researched ways to find ways to supplement Gleason test scores by looking for specific molecular markers. The findings of this new research study, recently published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, showcased the team’s findings in using chromosomal abnormalities in different types of prostate tumors that could be used as an accurate way of determining lower-risk prostate cancers from those that were more dangerous or aggressive.
Flagging Tumor Types Without Relying on Advanced Treatment
Overall, the scientists found that there were different chromosomal abnormalities in moderate to high-risk prostate cancers than there were in lower-risk ones. Using these biomarkers as a supplemental diagnosis tool to help differentiate tumor types when a Gleason score is uncertain could, therefore, be an excellent tool for making sure patients aren’t overtreated for a tumor that turns out to be lower-risk despite the Gleason uncertainty. If these molecular biomarkers prove to be reliable, integrating these genetic tests is likely to make diagnosis more accurate, and that’s a good thing.
Because of the severity of the possible side effects associated with advanced treatment options, finding ways to determine within a shadow of a doubt whether a patient needs these options or not is an important goal. Reducing the instances of using advanced treatment for a tumor that could have been treated successfully with less invasive means leads to better outcomes by eliminating unnecessary or high risk procedures.