British scientists may have found a new way to assess whether prostate cancer is aggressive and therefore requires treatment.
Tiny bubbles of fat in urine, they say, may hold key information.
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among African American men.
While deadly in its aggressive form, a more benign form often requires nothing more than close monitoring; patients generally die from another, unrelated condition.
Until now, researchers have used levels of proteins, like prostate specific antigen (PSA), produced by cancer cells to try to spot the aggressive tumors. But this can throw up inaccurate results and lead to unnecessarily treatment.
The latest work focused on fatty capsules called exosomes, which are flushed out of the body in urine. The molecules can be used to determine which genes are turned on and off in the cancer — and thus whether it is aggressive or not.
The study appears in Cancer Research UK’s British Journal of Cancer.
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