Applicability of biomarkers in the early diagnosis of prostate cancer

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Early diagnosis of prostate cancer can increase the curative success rate for this disease. Although serum prostate-specific antigen measurement is regarded as the best conventional tumor marker available, there is little doubt that it has great limitations. The threshold above which biopsies are indicated has now decreased to a serum prostatespecific antigen value of 3 ng/ml, which results in a negative biopsy rate of 70-80%. This can readily be explained by the fact that prostate-specific antigen is not specific for prostate cancer. Clinicians need more sensitive tools to help diagnose prostate cancer and monitor progression of the disease. Molecular oncology is playing an increasing role in the fields of diagnosis and therapy for prostate cancer and has already been instrumental in elucidating many of the basic mechanisms underlying the development and progression of this disease. The identification of new prostate cancer-specific genes, such asDD3PCA3,would represent a considerable advance in the improvement of diagnostic tests for prostate cancer. This could subsequently lead to a reduction of the number of unnecessary biopsies.

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