Nearly 3 million men live with prostate cancer in the US, with more than 160,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Prostate cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in men, which is why it’s important to find aggressive prostate cancers early when treatment can still be effective. Unfortunately, current methods for screening and evaluating men for this disease have led to overuse of prostate biopsies, which can also lead to unnecessary complications. This is why physicians are now using the 4Kscore, which is a simple blood test used after an abnormal screening test, to provide the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
4Kscore Provides The Risk Of Aggressive Prostate Cancer
Screening with PSA and a digital rectal examination (DRE) is a routine part of many men’s regular examinations, and has led to a significant drop in prostate cancer deaths. Screening with PSA is normally done in age appropriate men, and earlier in men with additional risk factors. While PSA has been successful in finding many prostate cancers at a stage early enough to treat, it does a poor job of differentiating aggressive prostate cancers from indolent cancer, and can even be elevated in many benign conditions like Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH: a common condition for most men as they get older) . As a result, there is significant controversy about continuing to use PSA as a routine screening test.
This is why a test like 4Kscore is so important to physicians and men concerned about their risk of aggressive prostate cancer. 4Kscore is a blood test performed after an abnormal PSA or DRE result. It measures the values of 4 prostate specific biomarkers in the blood and combines them with clinical results, resulting in a score that accurately predicts an individual’s risk of aggressive cancer. It can help avoid unnecessary prostate biopsies in low risk men, while higher risk men will continue to be appropriately evaluated with a biopsy. 4Kscore has been extensively evaluated in numerous published clinical studies, including a large US based prospective study at 26 centers around the country. It has been shown to provide risk for high-grade cancer and also categorizes risk for developing distant metastasis.
Making An Informed Decision About Prostate Biopsies
With the 4Kscore, patients and physicians can make a more informed decision about the benefits and risks of getting a prostate biopsy. Prostate biopsies can in some cases have complications like pain, bleeding, sepsis, and may lead to hospitalization, with its associated costs. Currently, screening with PSA and DRE alone has resulted in the majority of biopsies having no or indolent cancer. By using the 4Kscore in men with an abnormal screening result, many of these unnecessary biopsies can be avoided. This leads to better clinical decision making, while also reducing costs to the patient and the healthcare system.
Is the 4Kscore Test Available at Your Practice?
At GenPath and BioReference, OPKO Health companies, we often hear from physicians and patients alike inquiring about the 4Kscore Test. If you are a physician interested in offering the 4Kscore Test in your practice, we encourage you to contact us today. Begin offering the 4Kscore Test to your patients and get listed in our physician locater tool. If you are a patient who would like to encourage your physician to begin offering the 4Kscore Test, we also encourage you to reach out to us. Together we can make the 4Kscore Test even more readily available.
- American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. Available at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prostate Cancer Statistics. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/statistics/
- National Cancer Institure. Understanding Prostate Changes: A Health Guide for Men. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/understanding-prostate-changes