Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Genetic test may refine PSA or it may not!

I am going to read this article for the seventh time and get back to you this week.

In case you missed it, the PR Firm hired by DeCode pumped out a presser (press release), which I refuse to link to directly.....which essentially said

"Analysis of Four SNPs, in Tandem With Genetic Risk Factors Detected by the deCODE ProstateCancer(TM) Test, Yields Substantial Improvement in Efficacy of PSA Screening"

OK, 4 SNPs tells us whose PSA value is a bad 2.8 vs. good 5.8?

Or at least that's what the Kari S. tells us

"This is straighforward genetics with direct clinical utility." -Kari S. (Yes they rushed the release out with the misspelling of "straightforward")

Ok, so tell me, how has this straightforward genetic test performed in a prospective analysis?

What do you mean you haven't done that yet? So how can we have you assert that there is direct clinical utility?

We can't. Maybe you meant STRAY FORWARD?

Secondly, this study was carried out on Caucasian men, leaving African Americans, who often have earlier and more aggressive prostate cancer out in the dark.......

But what really got my Ire was when respected Tweeters started parroting this presser.........

Here is some high heat for us genome critics, read the study and read the presser. If the presser hypes the study, we should tear it apart and present the true facts for all to see on the internet.

Read and analyze the study, not the presser. I know we are all busy these days, but we owe that to our readers and the public. Hell, that makes us even better than a whole host of journalists who seem to quote Kari as if his opinion is the final take.

The Sherpa Says: On seventh read I will have a take on what these "SNPs that strengthen the predictive power of PSA" really mean.