New prostate cancer screen takes PSA testing to the next level

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An advanced prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test appears to be more sensitive and more specific than the nearly 30-year-old conventional PSA test. The A+PSA assay measures not only PSA levels but also six specific autoantibodies found in the blood of men with prostate cancer. These autoantibodies are being investigated as potential markers for prostate cancer.

“This is a very promising new approach,” observed Gang Zeng, PhD, in a statement describing the new assay. “Instead of using just one parameter—PSA—to test for prostate cancer, we use multiple parameters that can be measured in a single reaction.”

Zeng, an associate professor of urology at the University of California – Los Angeles Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, was the senior author of the A+PSA assay pilot study, published in the Journal of Translational Medicine ( In that project, the investigators compared the PSA and A+PSA tests in presurgery sera from 131 patients with biopsy-confirmed prostate cancer and 121 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and/or prostatitis.

A+PSA testing enhanced the sensitivities and specificities over PSA alone in distinguishing prostate cancer from nonmalignant cases and reduced the false-positive rate.

“The A+PSA assay represents a novel platform that integrates [autoantibody] signatures with a conventional cancer biomarker which may aid in the diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer and others,” concluded the researchers.

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