For many years the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test, together with a digital rectal exam, has been used as a screening tool to identify men that may have prostate cancer. If the PSA level is elevated, then men typically need to undergo additional testing — including a prostate biopsy. While a useful tool, the PSA test shows only the level of the PSA and can’t tell if prostate cancer or another medical condition is the reason for the elevation.
Enter the PCA3 test — a new urine test that University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have been working on to detect prostate cancer. The PCA3 urine test can provide additional information to help a man and his physician decide if a prostate biopsy is needed. Simply put: prostate cells have PCA3 genes that stimulate the production of a small amount of a certain protein. Because prostate cancer cells make more of this protein than normal prostate cells, men with prostate cancer can be identified with this test when PCA3 proteins leak into the urine.
Men interested in PCA3 testing should ask their physician if PCA3 testing is appropriate for their individual situation. The University of Michigan does offer the PROGENSA® PCA3 test as a supplement to the PSA test, upon physician request. To learn more about next steps for PROGENSA® PCA3 urine test at U-M, contact Cancer AnswerLine™ at 800-865-1125.