London: Scientists have discovered potential early warning signs for prostate cancer that could be used to spot the disease before symptoms emerge.
They identified two proteins that are present in higher levels in men with prostate cancer, which kills 10,000 a year in Britain.
The proteins are called `growth factors` that regulate normal growth and development in organs and tissue, especially in the womb and during childhood, reports the Telegraph.
Mari-Anne Rowlands, cancer epidemiologist at Bristol University, who led the study, said: "It`s too early to be certain but these results suggest that we may have identified potential new bio-markers for very early prostate cancer in men with no symptoms.
"Now we need more research to determine whether levels of these potential bio-markers predict which prostate cancers detected by screening might progress to become life-threatening."
She and her colleagues compared a range of bio-markers in 2,686 men with prostate cancer and 2,766 men without the condition.
Currently doctors rely on measuring Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), which rises in response to the presence of cancerous tissue.
However, the test does not flag up the cancer very early and is also not very accurate. It often falsely indicates a problem where none exists.
Last month British researchers revealed they were working on a urine test for prostate cancer, which would identify men with a higher genetic risk of developing the disease.
The results are to be presented at the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool Monday.