The Hopkins team is now working with tissue samples from three other medical centers, "trying to broaden the types of samples we have," Getzenberg added.
"In general, it does look very promising," Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancers at the American Cancer Society, said of the ECPA-2 test. But much more work must be done, he added.
"It does seem to have very high sensitivity and specificity for prostate cancer," Brooks said. "The challenge is taking it out of this isolated and rigorous setting and seeing how it performs in other laboratories and also in much larger screening-type populations."
If the test does prove to be accurate in larger populations, it could be "very useful" in prostate cancer diagnosis, Brooks said. But the real hope that it could single out those cases requiring immediate treatment from those that could be left for watchful waiting has yet to be proved, he said.
There's more on prostate cancer at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: Robert H. Getzenberg, M.D., professor, urology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Durado Brooks, M.D., director, prostate and colorectal cancers, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; May 2007, Urology