Do citrate levels predict risk for prostate cancer?

A Reuters report has suggested that a UK-based research team has evidence that levels of citrate in prostatic fluid offer a potentially accurate marker of risk for clinically significant prostate cancer.

This research, it should be noted, is in a very early stage. It would need to be extensively validated before we can be sure that this is the case.

It should also be noted that, at the present time, the only way to get sufficient prostatic fluid to conduct the test is by use of a single-needle biopsy sample, which is clearly a lot more invasive than a PSA test.

If this test can be reliably validated and if a less invasive means can be discovered to get sufficient prostatic fluid to conduct the test, then there may be a significant future in citrate levels, but those are a couple of pretty big ifs.

One Response

  1. Further info … Part of a report in The Scotsman reads as follows

    “What does the NHS Knowledge Service make of this study? This research is at a very early stage, and although the test has been able to measure the level of citrate in small amounts of prostate fluid this was on samples from a small number of healthy men. The technique developed in this preliminary research will now need further testing to see if it can accurately differentiate between prostate fluid from healthy men and men with prostate cancer.

    “It will also be necessary to determine whether the method would be able to detect cancer at an early enough stage for treatment to be effective. Even after this, the method would also need to be compared with existing tests, such as the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, to see how it compares.

    “It is too early as yet to know whether this test will be effective for the detection or monitoring of prostate cancer, whether it will save lives or how much it would cost.”

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