Prostate cancer is one of the biggest killers in men, but many tumours can be slow-growing and harmless.
However, due to the aggressive nature of other tumours and the inability to determine the difference most men with prostate cancer will need to undergo invasive surgery and treatment.
A discovery by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh has the potential to change that, as it suggests that a blood test could predict how quickly the tumour will spread.
The study investigated the blood samples and medical records of almost 250 men with prostate cancer over a period of ten years.
It revealed that the copy number variation (CNV) correlated with tumour growth.
The researchers found that they could correctly predict how quickly the tumour would grow in 69 per cent of patients and determine its probability of returning after treatment in 81 per cent.
"For a patient diagnosed with prostate cancer, CNV analysis done on blood or normal tissues would eliminate the need for additional invasive procedures to decide a treatment mode," said lead researcher Dr Jian-Hua Luo.
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