Washington: Researchers in Canada have developed a new genetic "signature" to identify prostate cancer patients who are at high risk of their cancer recurring after surgery or radiotherapy.
Professor Robert Bristow said that although surgery and precision radiotherapy are the mainstays of treatment for cancer that is confined to the prostate, the cancer will return in between 30-50 percent of patients due to spread of the disease outside the prostate gland that was undetected during the initial treatment.
"Men who fail treatment within two years may be at the highest risk of dying from their prostate cancer," he said.
"Existing methods for identifying high risk patients are imperfect, so new tests are required that are better at predicting which patients will have their cancer recur. These men can then be offered additional treatments, such as chemo- and hormone therapy, that will combat the prostate cancer throughout their entire body, rather than therapies solely focused on the prostate, in order to improve their chances of survival," he added.
Prof Bristow (MD, PhD, FRCPC), a clinician-scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and a Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada, and Dr Paul Boutros from the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research, together with their Canadian team, have developed a "signature" based on the DNA of the patient's prostate cancer that can accurately predict treatment failure in patients undergoing radiotherapy or surgery.
The tumour's genetic characteristics and its microenvironment were analysed from biopsy tissue taken before the start of treatment.
"This is the first report of a test using this information derived from biopsy samples that can predict with close to 80 percent accuracy which men are at high or low risk of their prostate cancer recurring," he said.