Blood test for prostate cancer could help avoid unnecessary biopsies

GILLIAN RUTHERFORD - 05 October 2023

First tool now available to men in Alberta based on technology developed at U of A to predict clinically significant disease.

Alberta men with elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels can now take a new blood test to determine their risk for clinically significant prostate cancer and potentially avoid an unnecessary biopsy.

The PSA blood test is the standard screen for prostate cancer. When a patient’s PSA is high, a biopsy is usually ordered to confirm the presence of cancer. However, an elevated PSA can sometimes be caused by non-cancerous factors such as age, infection or an enlarged prostate, as well as by lower-risk prostate cancer that may not require treatment. The new test can now be used to give patients and their doctors more information so they can make informed decisions about whether to proceed to biopsy.

“The ClarityDX Prostate test will reduce the number of unnecessary prostate biopsies, which are invasive, uncomfortable and carry some risk,” says John Lewis, Bird Dogs Chair in Translational Oncology at the University of Alberta and CEO of Nanostics Inc., a U of A spinoff company.