Genetic test predicts prostate Ca recurrence risk

November 13, 2014

A personalized genetic test has been shown to predict risk of prostate cancer recurrence following radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy, according to a recent study.

A personalized genetic test has been shown to predict risk of prostate cancer recurrence following radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy, according to a recent study.

The predictive test analyzes biopsy tissue taken before treatment to identify abnormal genetic DNA of the prostate cancer and its oxygen content. Together, this information can predict with almost 80% accuracy-and in about 3 days-those prostate cancer patients who are at greatest risk of recurrence, the study findings suggest.

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"The clinical potential is enormous for thousands of patients. This is personalized cancer medicine to the hilt-the ability to provide more targeted treatment to patients based on their unique cancer genetic fingerprint plus what's going on in the cancer cell's surrounding environment. We hope to improve cure rates by reducing the chances of the cancer recurring and prevent the cells from spreading,” said co-lead author Robert Bristow, MD, of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto in a press release from that institution.

The authors, who published their findings online in The Lancet Oncology (Nov. 13, 2014), developed the genetic test with two groups of patients. In the first group, the authors analyzed DNA from initial diagnostic biopsies of 126 men who were treated with image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and followed for an average of 7.8 years. In the second group, the team used the test on 150 men who underwent radical prostatectomy.

The genetic test produced similar results in both groups. The authors also found that when testing tumors for hypoxia in the men treated with IGRT and the gene test, this combined information made the test even more accurate, Dr. Bristow said.

The results showed that the men with the best outcomes-lower than 7% recurrence of prostate cancer at 5 years-had low levels of genetic changes and low hypoxia. For men with high levels of genetic changes and high hypoxia, more than 50% of patients had recurrence.

The next step will be testing the gene signature on many more patients worldwide for 3 to 5 years, the researchers said.

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