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Biomarkers & Genomic Testing

Biomarker testing in prostate cancer can tell you more about your specific diagnosis. This information may help you and your doctor decide which treatment is best for you.

Genetic testing for prostate cancer

Biomarker testing in prostate cancer

Biomarker testing in prostate cancer looks at how certain sets of genes in the tumor interact and function. It can be performed on both biopsy tissue and on tissue from an entire prostate following a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate by surgery). The activity of these genes can influence the behavior of the tumor, including how likely it is to grow and spread. Biomarker testing may also be called genomic, tumor, or somatic testing.

Biomarker testing may help you and your doctors decide on a treatment. These tests may be most helpful if you're newly diagnosed with prostate cancer that is still confined to the prostate. However, if you've had surgery and want to understand the risk of recurrence, you may also find this information helpful. By looking at the genetic makeup of prostate cancer, these tests may help predict whether your prostate cancer will grow slowly or aggressively.

This is different from genetic testing, which is a test to determine if you have a germline mutation. Genetic testing in prostate cancer is important because an inherited gene mutation may be responsible for up to 10% of all prostate cancers. A family history increases a man’s risk for prostate cancer by up to 60%.

View the table below for more information, and keep scrolling for more on biomarker testing.

A table summarizing the differences between germline and somatic testing for prostate cancer

Biomarker testing and precision medicine

Biomarker testing and precision medicine are somewhat newer terms in the cancer space. More broadly, biomarker testing looks for genes, proteins, and tumor markers that tell us more about your specific cancer. Biomarkers can help doctors diagnose and monitor cancer and can also affect how some treatments will work for you.

In this broad sense, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is also a biomarker, but new and emerging blood, urine, and tissue biomarkers are now available. The prostate health index, or PHI, as well as the 4KScore, are tests that help in diagnosing prostate cancer and identifying more aggressive disease, which may also reduce the number of prostate biopsies performed in patients with low PSA levels.

Biomarker testing - also called comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP), tumor testing, molecular profiling, tumor subtyping, or somatic testing - uses a single test to examine a person’s genes. The test looks for gene mutations that are relevant in cancer and may drive cancer growth. Some of these biomarkers tell your doctors how aggressive your prostate cancer might be. Biomarker testing may help you and your doctor better understand your cancer and choose the best treatment option.

Prostate cancer biomarker tests

Many prostate cancer biomarker tests are available. Some are used after a biopsy, some are used after a prostatectomy, and some are used if you have localized or advanced prostate cancer. These tests include Decipher®, FoundationOneLiquid CDX®, Genomic Prostate Score® (GPS) Test, ProstaVysion®, Prolaris®, PORTOS®, OncoTypeDX®, ArteraAI Prostate Test®, and others.

Talk to your doctor about when your tumor should be tested and which biomarker test is right for you.