The 4Kscore test is a blood test that measures four prostate-specific biomarkers to assess a man’s risk of having prostate cancer. The biomarkers included in this test are:
- Total PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen): The overall amount of PSA protein in the blood, produced by cells in the prostate gland.
- Free PSA: The amount of PSA that is not bound to other proteins in the blood.
- Intact PSA: A form of PSA that is not broken down.
- Human Kallikrein 2 (hK2): An enzyme that is closely related to PSA and is also produced by the prostate gland.
The 4Kscore test is used to determine the likelihood of a man having aggressive prostate cancer if a biopsy were to be performed. The test is particularly useful in men who have an elevated PSA level but have not yet undergone a prostate biopsy, as well as those who have had a previous negative biopsy but still have concerns about their cancer risk.
How It’s Used in Screening for Prostate Cancer?
- Risk Assessment: The 4Kscore test provides a percentage risk (from <1% to >95%) of a man having aggressive prostate cancer.
- Decision-Making: The test helps in deciding whether a prostate biopsy is necessary. If the test indicates a low risk of aggressive cancer, some men may choose to avoid or delay a biopsy and its potential complications.
- Refinement of Screening: It is used to refine the decision-making process after initial screening tests like PSA and digital rectal exams (DRE) but before invasive procedures such as a biopsy.
Advantages of the 4Kscore Test
- It can reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies, as not all elevated PSA levels are due to cancer.
- It can help to identify men who have a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer, ensuring that those who need a biopsy and potential treatment receive it promptly.
- It provides a more comprehensive assessment of prostate cancer risk than PSA testing alone.
- It may not detect all aggressive prostate cancers.
- It is not a substitute for a biopsy; rather, it’s an intermediate step to determine the necessity of a biopsy.
To take the 4Kscore test, a blood sample is drawn from the patient and sent to a lab for analysis. The results are usually available within a week and are provided to the patient’s doctor, who will discuss the results and next steps in management.
There is no special preparation required for the 4Kscore test. However, patients should inform their healthcare provider of any medications they are taking, as certain medications can affect PSA levels.
In summary, the 4Kscore test is a valuable tool in the prostate cancer screening process, providing a nuanced approach to risk assessment and aiding in the decision-making process regarding the need for a prostate biopsy.
To learn more, you may visit the company website at: OPKO Health 4K Score