Prostate Cancer: Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Victor Reuter An accurate diagnosis is critical for planning the best treatment approach for prostate cancer. Here, pathologist Victor Reuter (left) discusses a patient’s case with surgeon Karim Touijer.

We understand that a diagnosis of prostate cancer can bring with it a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. Our experts strive to give you the most accurate diagnosis possible, using the latest technology — so you can feel more confident about the next step, whether it’s active surveillance for your disease or starting treatment.

We offer the most-advanced detection tests to pinpoint evidence of the disease and whether it’s spread outside the prostate. We’re also helping men better assess their risk for developing prostate cancer.

Two tests commonly used to screen for prostate cancer are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and the digital rectal exam (DRE). However, neither test, either alone or in combination, can give you a certain diagnosis of prostate cancer. For that, we’ll need to:

New Diagnostic Techniques

Biological molecules that provide a clear indication of disease — also known as biomarkers — are entering our arsenal of molecular tests to diagnose prostate cancer. New biomarkers are allowing us to more precisely detect prostate cancer, guide our decisions about the therapies we use to treat you, monitor your response to treatment, and track the progression of your cancer. Our researchers and doctors are working to develop and evaluate the use of biomarkers in clinical practice. To better detect prostate cancer, our physician-scientists are studying the use of advanced molecular testing, including a urine test for PCA3, a gene that is specific to prostate cancer and is expressed in more than 90 percent of prostate cancer tissue but not in normal prostate tissue. The test detects the gene’s presence in the urine.

Advanced Prostate Cancer

For men with advanced prostate cancer, our researchers are currently assessing the effectiveness of a blood test that may be capable of detecting a single prostate cancer cell among a billion or more healthy cells. Interest in these cells, called circulating tumor cells, has increased with the availability of new technologies to detect, count, and characterize them. This new <strong>liquid biopsy</strong> may offer a noninvasive, highly accurate way to find cancer cells that cannot easily be detected with current methods.