September 08, 2015

Latest in prostate cancer detection — now offered at UAB — results in fewer unnecessary biopsies

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prostate examThe National Cancer Institute says more than 24,500 men in the United States will die from prostate cancer in 2015. The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Program for Personalized Prostate Cancer Care is taking aim at that statistic by becoming, once again, the first entity in the region to offer the latest prostate cancer detection technology.

In 2014, the PPPCC was the first in the Southeast to offer magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound fusion-guided biopsy, an imaging technique that can detect prostate cancer with higher accuracy.

Now the program is extending its reach beyond advanced imaging into advanced diagnostic testing by being the first in the region to offer the Prostate Health Index (phi) from PCLS, an FDA-approved blood test shown to be three times more specific than the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test.

“The improved specificity for identifying prostate cancer from phi further enhances patient care as compared to the traditional, more widely used PSA test,” said Soroush Rais-Bahrami, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Urology. “The test results offer a report that is personalized for each patient, and we are excited to be able to offer this to our patients.”

“Now our Program for Personalized Prostate Cancer Care has the imaging, years of experience utilizing it as well as phi; we are set when it comes to offering our patients the best.”
Rais-Bahrami says the difference between the PSA test and the phi is that the latter can give the patient an exact percentage chance of having prostate cancer, while the PSA test just gives an amount of PSA levels in the blood, which can be affected by factors such as prostate enlargement, a urinary tract infection or prostatitis and can lead to unnecessary prostate biopsies.

“I was recently able to tell a patient who had elevated PSA levels that the likelihood he was prostate cancer-free was 90.2 percent because we have this phi technology,” Rais-Bahrami said. “Having this patient-specific risk gives patients more definitive answers, and it helps us direct their care by identifying those patients who truly do need a biopsy.”

UAB has the only physicians offering phi from PCLS in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle.

“The phi is a really great test,” Rais-Bahrami said. “Now our Program for Personalized Prostate Cancer Care has the imaging, years of experience utilizing it as well as phi; we are set when it comes to offering our patients the best.”

In the future, Rais-Bahrami envisions a clinical trial coupling phi with the advanced imaging technology, in further efforts to define the route to best outcomes for prostate cancer patients.
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