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Prostate cancer saliva test is trialled

DEVELOPMENT: Prostate cancer (Photo credit: istockphoto)

A SALIVA test to detect men at increased risk of prostate cancer has started early trials.

The new DNA test was created by a group of international scientists based at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London.

The test looks for high-risk genes that are thought to affect one in every 100 men.

Three hundred men are taking part in the trials, from three London GP surgeries.

Developing better diagnostic tests that could be used as part of a nationwide screening programme is a research priority for prostate cancer.

At present, there is no single, reliable test for prostate cancer. The PSA blood test, biopsies and physical examinations are all used. But the PSA can give false positives and sometimes misses more aggressive cases.

Ros Eeles, professor of oncogenetics at the ICR, said the study was "very significant".

"By looking at the DNA code of tens of thousands of men in more depth than ever before, we have uncovered vital new information about the genetic factors that can predispose someone to prostate cancer, and, crucially, we have shown that information from more than 150 genetic variants can now be combined to provide a readout of a man's inherited risk of prostate cancer."

They studied more than 140,000 men and identified 63 new genetic variations that can increase the risk of prostate cancer.

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