Scientists in the US have developed a new way of detecting tumours in patients with prostate cancer.
The team, from the University of California, found that analysing non-tumour tissue may be as effective as looking directly for tumours.
Published in the journal Cancer Research, the study explained that physicians could detect changes in non-tumour tissue that indicate a tumour may be present.
This information would allow patients to be given a follow-up biopsy sooner than if they received equivocal first results on diagnostic tests.
Lead researcher Dan Mercola commented: "Changes in the non-tumour tissue surrounding the tumour have long been considered to be important to tumour growth.
"Interfering with this process could have therapeutic value."
Mr Mercola added: "The information in non-tumour tissue indicating 'presence of tumour' or not indicates who needs urgent re-biopsy and allows patients to consider alternative therapies to surgery or radiation such as neoadjuvant therapy or prostate cancer prevention treatment."