A new prostate cancer test can predict how aggressive a tumor is and could spare men unnecessary operations, researchers suggest.
Early data, presented at the National Cancer Research Institute conference, suggests a genetic test can tell apart aggressive and slow-growing tumors.
A big challenge in treating the cancer is knowing whether surgery to remove the gland is needed.
Cancer charities said a successful test would be a “game-changer”.
The decision to remove the prostate is based on an examination of a tumor sample under the microscope.
However, the procedure has significant side-effects such as infertility, difficulty maintaining and keeping an erection and uncontrolled urinating.
The commercial test, developed by Myriad Genetics, but independently assessed by Queen Mary University of London, looks at the activity level of genes inside a sample of the tumor.
If 31 genes involved in controlling how cells divide are highly active, it indicates the cancer is aggressive.