A study published today (9th October) in The Lancet Oncology suggests that a new blood test looking at gene activity shows potential to be used in distinguishing between aggressive and non-aggressive forms of prostate cancer. The study was led by the Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation trust - and part funded by Prostate Cancer UK.
A second study from Professor William Oh at the Tisch Cancer Institute of Mount Sinai School of Medicine (USA), also published today in The Lancet Oncology, also hints at the discovery of a similar promising test.
Dr Kate Holmes, Head of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "The results from these studies provide a very early indication that the aggressiveness of a man's prostate cancer could be determined by testing for the presence of specific genes in his blood. For years it has been extremely difficult to try and predict which men have very aggressive tumours and which do not. We are therefore encouraged by news of research, part funded by Prostate Cancer UK, that may have taken a step towards finding a test that can finally draw this distinction.
"If these early findings can be confirmed by much larger studies over time this method could potentially be used to help inform how aggressive a tumour will be and empower men and their clinicians to make much more informed decisions about which treatments are best for their individual circumstances. We look forward to seeing the results of further research and hope it confirms the findings hinted at today."
Thanks to the support of The Movember Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK has recently announced the tripling of its research spend to a record £25 million over the next 3 years, making it the largest funder of prostate cancer research in the UK.