Prostate Cancer Screening and the 4Kscore Test
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the United States -- in fact, it is estimated that 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.1 Early detection of prostate cancer may lead to a better prognosis. However, there is no general consensus on whether or not to regularly test healthy men for prostate cancer.2,3
Diagnosing prostate cancer
- Digital rectal exam (DRE) -- This is a manual exam, where a doctor uses a gloved, lubricated finger inserted into the rectum to examine the prostate gland. If texture, shape, or size abnormalities are detected, further tests may be ordered
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test -- This is a blood test to check for the level of PSA in your blood. Though a small amount if PSA is normal, a higher level may indicate infection, inflammation, or potentially cancer of the prostate
- Ultrasound -- A secondary step to prostate cancer diagnosis, a doctor may use a transrectal ultrasound to evaluate your prostate. This involves inserting an ultrasonic wand into the rectum to use sound waves to create a picture of the prostate gland
- Prostate biopsy -- Your doctor may recommend a needle biopsy procedure to extract cells from the prostate to look for the presence of cancer cells
- MRI Fusion -- This is a newer technology that is gaining more presence in the detection of prostate cancer. Fusion technology blends the images from an MRI scan with those from a transrectal ultrasound to create a clearer image of the prostate
What is the 4Kscore test?
A new development in prostate cancer screening may be able to use a simple blood draw to indicate a man’s risk for developing prostate cancer. This may guide healthcare professionals as to whether further or regular screening should be recommended. The 4Kscore test is a blood test that identifies the presence of four different PSA markers—total PSA, free PSA, intact PSA, and human kallikrein-related peptidase.4,5 These four markers have been shown to indicate a man’s risk for aggressive prostate cancer.5
What’s even more interesting is that the 4Kscore has also been shown to detect prostate cancer risk even if a DRE is not conducted.4 Prostate biopsy is an invasive procedure that is not always conclusive. If used in at-risk patients or patients with other indicators of prostate cancer, the 4Kscore test may be a useful diagnostic tool for aggressive prostate cancer cases.5
The 4Kscore provides a score ranging from <1% to >95% which reflects the probability that a man will have aggressive prostate cancer on prostate biopsy, defined as Gleason 7 or greater.4
How does the 4Kscore test impact screening?
Many clinical studies have shown that the 4Kscore is effective in predicting a man’s risk for aggressive prostate cancer. Prostate cancer biopsies are performed often to screen for prostate cancer, but only 23% successfully detect aggressive prostate cancer.4
In addition, because the 4Kscore does not require a biopsy, biopsies may be able to be reduced in clinical practice as a diagnostic tool of the 4Kscore test is used. Alternatively, a high-risk 4Kscore may be used to refer a patient for biopsy and detect cancer at an earlier stage, possibly preventing a negative outcome for the patient. And men with a low-risk score may be able to safely skip an unnecessary diagnostic biopsy.4,5
Have you taken the Prostate Cancer Recurrence Quiz yet?