Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting men. The life expectancy of the general population is increasing and along with it, the number of newly diagnosed cases and death continues to rise since the incidence of cancer increases with age.
Prostate-specific antigen (tPSA) based screening reduces mortality. However, experts do not support PSA-screening as it can result in possible over-diagnosis and over-treatment, causing harm to patients. Unnecessary biopsies come with risk of infection, and can be traumatic and costly. Also, prostate cancers vary widely in the way they progress and spread, with the result that many men diagnosed with screen-detected prostate cancer could end up being treated for a cancer that may never have been fatal, left undiagnosed and/or untreated.
Beckman Coulter’s Access® Hybritech p2PSA on the Access Immunoassay Systems is now widely accepted as the solution. The [-2]proPSA is a form of free PSA and is associated with prostate cancer because higher levels are found in the blood and tissue of patients with prostate cancer. The FDA-approved assay is an automated test that combines the [-2]proPSA measurement with total PSA and free PSA measurements from the same blood sample in a mathematical formula to calculate a Prostate Health Index (phi). This index measures a man’s probability of having prostate cancer with a total PSA value between 4 ng/mL and 10 ng/mL and whether he needs a biopsy. The advantage of this test is that it may help reduce the need to conduct unnecessary biopsies in men who have a total PSA value between 4 ng/mL and 10 ng/mL, but are not likely to have cancer. The phi is better at identifying high risk, potentially lethal prostate cancers, than the standard PSA test or the percent free PSA alone.