Researchers have identified biomarkers that could help in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. These are a group of RNA molecules called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs).
Prostate cancer is a very common cancer that affects older males. In many cases, the cancer may be slow growing and may not require treatment. In some cases, however, it tends to have a very aggressive course and spreads early to other organs. Screening for prostate cancer is normally done by testing for PSA or prostate specific antigen; its levels in the blood are increased in patients with prostate cancer. People with high PSA levels have to sometimes undergo a prostate biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. However, the levels are also increased in inflammatory conditions of the prostate, and therefore, the results may be misleading in some cases.
AdvertisementAccording to a study published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, it is possible to diagnose prostate cancer using a group of markers called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). RNAs use messages from DNA and help in the arrangement of amino acids to form proteins. Noncoding RNAs are RNAs that are not directly involved in the formation of the proteins. Once considered useless, they are now being investigated for their association with various disease conditions, including cancers.
The lncRNAs are detected only in tissue samples and urine of prostate cancer patients. Thus, the test is specific for these patients. Using a urine test which is a non-invasive test, the patient can be tested for prostate cancer without even getting a prick.
It is thus hoped that the new test will help in diagnosing prostate cancer more easily and will avoid the need for unnecessary prostate biopsies, which add to the inconvenience and discomfort of the patient.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
Not all prostate cancers require aggressive treatment. Some of them are extremely slow growing and therefore may only need regular monitoring. Others can spread fast and require urgent treatment. Treatment modalities used for prostate cancer include:
• Surgery: Surgical procedures used for prostate cancer include radical prostatectomy and transurethral resection of prostate.
• Cryotherapy, where the cancer cells are frozen using a probe.
• Radiation Therapy.
• Hormone Therapy, which uses medications that block the action of male hormones on the prostate.
• Chemotherapy, especially in the later stages.
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