Semen test for prostate cancer

Men could be tested for prostate cancer in future by studying samples of their semen, it was claimed yesterday.

Scientists have developed a new three-minute test for disease that relies on shining light through fluid from the prostate gland.



At present the test has to be carried out on biopsy samples obtained by inserting a needle into the prostate.



But experts hope further development will lead to a simple test of semen, half of which is composed of prostate fluid.



Each year around 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK and 10,000 men die from the disease.



There is no national screening programme for prostate cancer, largely due to the lack of a reliable test.



The standard PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood marker test often gives false results. As a result patients may be wrongly led to believe they have cancer, or cancers can be missed.



The new test developed by British and US scientists including a team from the University of Durham measures the wavelength of light as it is shone through diluted samples of prostate fluid.



Levels of a substance called citrate in the samples provide an indicator of prostate cancer. Concentrations decrease sharply from a normal range of 50 to 200 millimoles to between two and 20 millimoles in men with the disease.



Professor David Parker, from the Chemistry Department at Durham University, said: “Citrate provides a significant biomarker for disease that may provide a reliable method for screening and detecting prostate cancer, and for the monitoring of people with the disease. This technique could form the basis of a simple screening procedure for prostate cancer that could be used in outpatient departments at local hospitals.”



A portable testing device has been developed that can give results in three minutes.



John Neate, chief executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity, said: “This is early stage research, with the citrate levels of only 20 samples being tested. The results of a biopsy take around two weeks to come back to a patient and the main benefit of this new potential test would be one of speed. If the findings of further research in a large group of men remain consistent with these early results, the test could add something beneficial to the diagnostic tools currently available. Men could have a clearer idea of whether they have the disease, before the biopsy results confirm this. The full biopsy results would still be necessary, however, to confirm whether a man has an aggressive or non-aggressive form of the disease.



A research paper on the test appears in the journal Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry.

* This article is from the Belfast Telegraph.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker / Telesales

    £15000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading supplie...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales Executive - Dereham

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is proud to b...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales Executive - OTE £30,000

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is proud to b...

    Recruitment Genius: Audit Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Graduate Opportunities are available at a lead...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project