WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Jul 16, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Scientists have found variations in a gene that controls levels of prostate specific antigen in men -- a finding that could make PSA screenings more accurate.
It's been assumed levels of PSA are tied directly to the degree of cancer in the prostate gland. PSA levels have been shown to increase when cancer develops, when prostate glands become enlarged and when prostates are irritated..
But a study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, shows gene variations, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, can directly influence levels of PSA that can be detected in a man's bloodstream.
Scott D. Cramer of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., said: "Depending on the type of variation, the biological marker can be higher or lower than normal."
Cramer told USA Today it's too early to know whether men with higher levels are at higher risk for cancer
Copyright 2003 by United Press International.