Test to end prostate cancer operations on the anvil?
London: Coming soon: A simple test which could save thousands of prostate cancer patients from surgery, say scientists.
A new research has shown that men with certain genes are three times more likely to have the most dangerous form. While these patients need surgery, those without these genes are less likely to see their tumours grow quickly and may be
able to avoid surgery altogether.
Early results from a trial by a British team suggest that the tests could be available in a few years and transform the outlook for thousands of men with prostate cancer – the most common form of male cancer, the `Daily Express` reported.
Lesley Walker of Cancer Research UK who funded the new study said: "This could one day help solve one of the biggest problems in prostate cancer treatment. For some men, detecting prostate cancer early could be lifesaving.
For others, it could mean unnecessary treatment and serious side effects.
"This test isn`t yet available for routine use but we`ll look forward to seeing the results of large clinical trials that will tell us whether it`ll be useful for all men
with prostate cancer."
There are two different types of tumour but doctors find it hard to tell which is which. One called aggressive will grow quickly and spread around the body. The tumour needs cutting out immediately.
But in many other cases men are found to have slow- growing tumours that may not cause ill health. They will grow so slowly that patients are more likely to die of something else first.
In these cases, surgery will simply cause more problems than it solves as patients are often left incontinent and with erectile problems. The need is to find a simple, fast and effective way to tell which patient has which, say the
scientists from Queen Mary University of London.
Early tests show men with higher levels of a gene called cell cycle progression (CCP) are three times likely to have an aggressive tumour than those with low levels. The test can be done on small samples of the tumour removed in biopsy.
Along with another routine test that monitors prostate inflammation, called a PSA test, it could help to give cancer doctors a clearer picture of when they need to operate and when patients can be given radiotherapy to kill the cancer or
have it left completely.
Prof Jack Cuzick of Queen Mary University of London, who led the research, was quoted as saying, "Our findings have great potential. CCP genes are expressed at higher levels in actively growing cells, so we could be indirectly measuring the growth rate and inherent aggressiveness of the tumour
through our test."
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