A manâ€™s risk of prostate cancer increases with elevated blood levels of prostate-specific antigen, or PSA. But PSA screenings can sometimes lead to false-positives or false-negatives, and even invasive procedures like biopsies or surgeries. Epidemiologist John Witte of the University of California, San Francisco says that his team is looking to improve the accuracy of PSA tests by examining the genes that affect PSA levels.
"Everyone has a different constitutive level of their PSA, kind of like we have different levels of cholesterol that are somewhat genetically determined. Right now, every PSA is treated the same. But if we knew, "Oh, this person is just a high PSA producer genetically," then they would have to cross a higher threshold to go to the next step in being screened for prostate cancer. Or if someone is a low PSA producer, then maybe they would have a lower level instead of just using a single cut off for all men. So this actually I could see actually having really near-term value."
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