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New Research Finds Prostate Cancer Biomarkers in Seminal Fluids

First Posted: Jun 06, 2014 12:36 PM EDT
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Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers suffered by men. Doctors and scientists have been working to identify early detection methods for the cancer before it becomes life threatening, and new research may have found a way to do so.    

Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia recently discovered that seminal fluids contain biomarkers for prostate cancer and claim that the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test is not an ideal way to test for the cancer. The study comes just a few days before International Men's Health Week, which takes place from June 9-15.

Dr. Luke Selth, the lead researcher of the study, hopes to increase awareness of male health issues, which is the main focus of Men's Health Week. The University of Adelaide research hopes to align with the common goal of developing health policies and services that meet the specific needs of males throughout the world. Their study, "Human Seminal Fluid as a Source of Prostate Cancer Specific MicroRNA Biomarkers," was published in the journal Endocrine-Related Cancer.

He and his researchers used seminal fluid samples from 60 men and discovered a number of small ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules (microRNAs) in the fluids. These microRNAs are known to be increased in prostate tumors, and some of them were accurate in detecting prostate cancer. Between 30% and 35% of a male's seminal fluid is made up of secretions from the prostate. The rest of the secretions are produced by the seminal vesicles as well as the testicles and epididymes.

"Biomarkers that can accurately detect prostate cancer at an early stage and identify aggressive tumors are urgently needed to improve patient care. Identification of such biomarkers is a major focus of our research," said Dr. Selth in a news release.

Dr. Selth said that the presence of the microRNAs were more accurate in determining whether a patient had cancer, compared to the results given by the PSA test. He and his researchers are now planning to expand on this study to engage larger patient groups to further substantiate the findings from this study.

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