PSA Tests - Not Just for Prostate Cancer Anymore

Breast cancer may be detected with PSA test

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The most common form of cancer in women may soon be detected using a test that diagnoses the most common type of cancer in men. The PSA test may soon be used to detect breast cancer.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has long been thought to appear only in the prostate gland. Scientists now know this protein can acutally be secreted by several organs including the breast, liver, lung, ovary, pancreas and adrenal glands

The PSA test has been used for years as a means helping diagnose and monitoring prostate cancer in men. Now scientists are looking to see if this blood test might also be used to detect breast cancer.

"PSA test may soon be used for diagnosing breast cancer."

PSA may be a biomarker (substance that indicates the presence of disease) for breast cancer in women, according to a research team led by Chien Chou. Levels of PSA in healthy women, though, are so minute that only super sensitive tests can be used in measuring the levels.

To solve this dilemma, scientists used gold nanoparticles and PSA antibodies to build a tiny fiber-optic biosensor that can detect PSA levels with a fluroescent signal.

This system was found to be as sensitive (probability of a correct positive diagnosis) and specific (probability of a correct negative diagnosis) in detecting breast cancer as using PSA as a biomarker in prostate cancer.

Researchers add that the results of this testing are comparable in accuracy to current breast cancer screening methods, including clinical exams and mammography.

This research is published in the American Chemical Society journal, Analytical Chemistry.

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Review Date: 
July 17, 2011
Last Updated:
July 26, 2011