Why is it Important to Know if I have Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that 26,120 men will die of prostate cancer in 2017 alone. [1] While these figures are alarming, not all forms of prostate cancer are equally dangerous.  Those types of prostate cancer that are indolent and unlikely to spread have good survival rates, with 5-year survival of [2]:

  • Localized prostate cancer 100%
  • Regional prostate cancer 100%
  • Distant metastatic prostate cancer 29.8%
  • Unstaged prostate cancer 81.2%

Aggressive vs Low Grade Prostate Cancer

Low-grade prostate cancers are generally considered to be non-life threatening, and in many cases the patient may not even require treatment. Physicians often recommend patients with low-grade prostate cancer (Gleason Score = 6) simply be monitored with active surveillance. Prostate cancers with a Gleason Score ranging between 7 and 10, however, are considered aggressive and may be life threatening. In many cases, those men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer can benefit from and should receive early treatment.

Detecting Aggressive Prostate Cancer

The PSA test is a widely-used blood test designed to detect Prostate-Specific Antigens (PSA) in the bloodstream. Though an elevated PSA level can be indicative of a higher risk level of developing prostate cancer, it does not effectively differentiate between prostate cancer and other less serious health conditions. Oftentimes, an elevated PSA score does not indicate the presence of prostate cancer.

The 4Kscore is a blood test performed after an abnormal PSA that provides men with an accurate risk of having aggressive prostate cancer, and categorizes their risk of developing distant metastasis for over 10 years. [3, 4] It combines four prostate protein levels and clinical findings to provide a risk score for aggressive prostate cancer, which can then be used by men and their doctors in the biopsy decision making process.

By providing the risk of aggressive prostate cancer after an abnormal PSA, the 4Kscore is revolutionizing the way physicians and patients approach prostate cancer diagnosis. As a result, men with a low risk can avoid an unnecessary prostate biopsy, while higher risk men can get the appropriate evaluation and treatment. [5]

How do you know if you have aggressive prostate cancer?

Ready to Learn More About the 4Kscore?

At GenPath and BioReference, OPKO Health Companies, we often hear from both physicians and patients interested in learning more about the 4Kscore Test. If you are a physician interested in offering the 4Kscore Test to your patients, contact us today. Begin offering the 4Kscore Test in your practice and join our physician locater tool. If you are a patient who would like to encourage your physician to begin offering the 4Kscore Test, reach out to us. Together we can save lives!

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[1] Cancer.net. Prostate Cancer: Statistics. Available at https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/prostate-cancer/statistics. (Accessed on April 5, 2017).

[2] NIH: Cancer Stat Facts: Prostate Cancer. Available at https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/prost.html (Access August 1, 2017)

[3] Parekh DJ, Punnen Sm, Sjoberg DDm et al. A Multi-institutional Prospective Trial in the USA Confirms that the 4Kscore Accurately Identifies Men with High-grade Prostate Cancer. Eur Urol. 2015; 68:464-70.

[4] Stattin P, Vickers AJ, Sjoberg DD, et al. Improving the Specificity of Screening for Lethal Prostate Cancer Using Prostate-specific Antigen and a Panel of Kallikrein Markers: A Nested Case-Control Study. Euro Urol. 2015; 68:207-213.

[5] Konety B, Zappala SM, Parekh DJ, et al. The 4Kscore® Test Reduces Prostate Biopsy Rates in Community and Academic Urology Practices. Rev Urol. 2015; 17(4):231-40.