A new study published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics concluded that a set of RNA molecules could be detected in tissue samples and the urine of prostate cancer patients but not in normal healthy individuals. These results could mean the development of more sensitive and specific non-invasive tests for prostate cancer than currently available and could reduce the need for many prostate biopsies.
Current methods of testing for high concentrations of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in blood samples and following up with biopsies lack specificity in detecting prostate cancer. Researchers believe they have found a better group of RNA molecules, known as long noncoding RNAs (IncRNAs) that may serve as better prognostic markers for prostate cancer. IncRNAs are thought to regulate normal cellular development and are increasingly reported as contributing to a range of diseases including cancer.
Researchers profiled the IncRNAs in three distinct groups: 1) human prostate cancer cell lines and normal prostate epithelial cells, 2) prostate adenocarcinoma tissue samples and matched normal tissue samples and 3) urine samples from patients with prostate cancer or benign prostate hyperplasia, and normal healthy individuals. In each case, the IncRNAs were elevated in prostate cancer patients but not in patients with benign prostate hyperplasia or normal healthy individuals.
Researchers also tested a recent urine test was based upon one IncRNA–PCA3 and found that it was detected in some prostate cancer patients but not in all of their samples. Thus, they suggested that a single biomarker may be insufficient for prostate cancer detection, but combining additional markers may increase the specificity and and sensitivity of the test.