Northshore University HealthSystem releases test to predict risk of prostate cancer

Evanston, Ill.-based Northshore University HealthSystem's center for personalized medicine rolled out a new test to assess patients' risk of developing prostate cancer.

NorthShore developed the test, AmbryScore, through its collaboration with genetic sequencing company Ambry Genetics, which was announced in September 2017. It says AmbryScore is the first commercially available polygenic risk score to estimate a patient's individual risk for prostate cancer based on the combined interpretation of 72 single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with the disease.

Physicians can request the test for patients as an add-on to existing hereditary cancer panels. However, due to the population-specific nature of the single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with the disease, the test is only available for patients of Northern European ancestry.

Knowing a patient's risk for prostate cancer will enable earlier interventions, such as encouraging screening for early detection, according to NorthShore.

"Implementing the test into our practice helps us understand and identify risk, which ultimately will help our patients as well as their families who may be at risk," Brian Helfand, MD, PhD, a urologist with the health system's center for personalized medicine, said in a news release.

The prostate cancer risk test is part of NorthShore's ongoing work in genetic testing.

Earlier in 2018, NorthShore and Ambry Genetics released a breast cancer risk test as the first genetic test from their collaboration. In April, Northshore entered into a development partnership with direct-to-consumer genetics company Helix to develop products that use genetic tests to stratify a patient's risk for chronic conditions.

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