Two Genetic Signatures Can Help Identify Patients with Aggressive Prostate Cancer

October 2012, Vol 3, No 7 - Value Propositions

The search for better diagnostic tools for prostate cancer continues, with current test modalities leaving much room for improvement.

Researchers in the United Kingdom have identified 2 new genetic
“signatures” for prostate cancer that could help oncologists to identify patients with prostate cancer whose tumor is aggressive and to implement a more intensive therapy than might otherwise seem warranted. The test, which has been developed from these 2 blood signatures, is quite promising and may prove very valuable for identifying those high-risk patients, experts suggest.

“Prostate cancer is a very diverse disease—some people live with it for years without symptoms, but for others it can be aggressive and life-threatening,” said lead investigator Johann de Bono, MD, PhD, MSc, FRCP, Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine, Honorary Consultant Medical Oncologist, Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research, London, England. “So it’s vital we develop reliable tests to tell the different types apart.”

According to Dr de Bono, studying these blood signatures has the potential to be more accurate than the prostate cancer tests that are currently available on the market; furthermore, this new test does not require a follow-up biopsy, as in the case of the prostate-specific antigen test. “Our test reads the pattern of genetic activity like a barcode, picking up signs that a patient is likely to have a more aggressive cancer. Doctors should then be able to adjust the treatment they give accordingly,” Dr de Bono said. Lancet Oncology; October 9, 2012.