New prostate cancer test has promising benefits

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-08 19:20:55-04

(CBS) -- A new genetic test may help thousands of men diagnosed with prostate cancer make better decisions about treatment or taking a wait and watch approach.

Researchers say a new test can better predict which men with prostate cancer will develop aggressive disease. The test analyses genes from a biopsy sample and determines how risky the tumor is.

Dr. Peter Carroll led a study of the new test from Genomic Health.
He says knowing which patients are at greatest risk will help many men avoid unnecessary procedures that can cause serious side effects.

"The thought is that such information may allow men to more confidently, men and their providers to more confidently actively surveillance in lieu of immediate treatment for their disease," said Carroll.

Each year about 240,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the US. It’s estimated only 10-percent of men with low risk tumors choose waiting and monitoring.

Experts say while the test sounds promising, more time is needed to see how useful it will be going forward.  It’s also unclear whether insurance will pay for the test, which runs nearly 4,000  dollars.