Every month we collate a selection of the latest clinically-relevant research to help you keep up to date with the most important developments in the field of prostate cancer.

Articles have been selected based on impact factor of the journal, relevance to UK clinical practice and general interest. You may be able to access the full text from your Trust's library service or via ATHENS registration. Information from PubMed explains other ways to access full text articles. 

April 2015

Research round up from the clinic - top four articles from April 2015: 

1. Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a new consensus guideline

Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain have a significant impact on patients’ quality of life and there is currently a lack of robust published evidence and guidance on how to recognise and manage the conditions, particularly for practitioners working in primary care. Prostate Cancer UK put together a Prostatitis Expert Reference Group (PERG) to develop a consensus guideline to help address this. The consensus guideline is now available in a peer-reviewed publication as an open-access article (here). Additional information and documents relating to the consensus guidelines can also be found on the Prostate Cancer UK website (here).

2. Review of recent findings in young-age prostate cancer

A review, by Hussein and Colleagues from Canada, looked to identify characteristic features of prostate cancer in men at young age as opposed to prostate cancers identified in older men. The authors highlighted findings including that young-age prostate cancer has several biological and genetic features, distinct from elderly-onset prostate cancer. They also suggested that most patients with prostate cancer at a young age tend to have low-grade and stage disease compared with elderly-onset prostate cancer. Other take home messages the authors reported included BRCA2 mutation carriers have an increased risk of early-onset prostate cancer with a more aggressive biology.

3. Evolutionary history of prostate cancer

Gundem et al. looked at how the disease spreads around the body, and how it evolves to become resistant to treatment. The authors used whole-genome sequencing to characterise multiple metastases arising from prostate tumours. Cancer Research UK have written an in-depth science blog about the research the group have carried out: Migration, settlement, and more migration: how prostate cancers spread.

4. Protein that may signal more aggressive prostate cancers

University of Michigan researchers, Ge et al., previously discovered a regulatory mechanism in bone cells, Runx2. In a recent paper they published in the journal Oncogene they reported these biomarkers seemed to play a crucial role in the rapid growth of tumours, and highlighted its value as a potential diagnostic marker and therapeutic target.

March 2015

Research round up from the clinic - top three articles from March 2015

1: Black men less willing than White men to be tested for prostate cancer

Researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Bristol and University College London conducted a study with more than 500 men, attending general practices in Bristol, in which they were presented with realistic hypothetical scenarios - each included a description of a prostate cancer symptom and the estimated risk of prostate cancer. Martins et al found that preference for investigation was lower in Black men irrespective of the risk presented in the scenario. This difference was strongest in relation to the scenarios associated with the lowest risk level, with just 44% of Black males opting for investigation compared with 91% of White males. In both groups, the most common reason for declining investigation was low risk, but significantly more Black men stated that they simply did not want to know if they had cancer. Read our reaction to this research.

2: Detecting cancer cells in blood can give an early warning of treatment failure

A blood test that measures the number of cells shed from prostate tumours into the bloodstream can act as an early warning sign that treatment is not working. Scher et al showed that measuring the numbers of circulating tumour cells and lactate dehydrogenase level in the blood predicted which men were benefitting least from abiraterone after 12 weeks of treatment.

3: Evidence that a family history of prostate cancer increases a women’s risk of breast cancer

Beebe-Dimmer at al followed 78,171 women between 1993 and 1998. By 2009, 3,506 of them had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Women whose fathers or brothers had prostate cancer had a 14% greater risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, while women with a family history of both breast and prostate cancer had a 78% increased risk. Read more on this research.

February 2015

Research round up from the clinic - top four articles from February 2015

1: Increasing cancer rates

Ahmad and his colleagues estimated the lifetime risk of cancer in Britain for men and women born in each year from 1930 to 1960.  The article, published in the British Journal of Cancer, concluded the lifetime risk of cancer increase from 39% to 54% for men born in 1930 and 1960 respectively.  Cancer Research UK, who co-authored the paper, also featured details of the study in its Science blog.

2: Novel prostate cancer drugs which target protein receptors could provide effective treatments for advanced prostate cancer

Early state prostate cancer tumours depend on hormones called androgens. As the disease progresses, it becomes resistant to drugs that block androgen receptors. Researchers from the United States found that GPR158, unlike other members of the GPCR family, is stimulated by androgens, which in turn stimulates androgen receptor expression, leading to tumour growth. Patel and his colleagues conclude their data suggest GPR158 could provide a target for new prostate cancer drugs.
Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "There's still so much we don't know about advanced prostate cancer. Working out why the disease stops responding to treatment over time is one of the big unanswered questions. The findings revealed in this paper provide us with another clue, but we've still got a long way to go."

3: American cancer society prostate cancer survivorship care guidelines endorsed

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has endorsed the American Cancer Society’s Prostate Cancer Survivorship Care Guidelines. The guidelines provide recommendations to primary care physicians on best practices in follow-up care for men after prostate cancer treatment.
The recommendations include health promotion, prostate cancer surveillance, screening for new cancers, long-term and late functional effects of the disease and its treatment, psychosocial issues, and coordination of care between the survivor’s primary care physician and prostate cancer specialist in the United States.

4: Final survival analysis of a phase 3 study of abiraterone and prednisone

Ryan and colleagues report the final analysis of overall survival from a randomised phase 3 trial of abiraterone and prednisone versus placebo plus prednisone in chemotherapy-naïve patients with advanced and aggressive prostate cancer. The results showed that lived more than four months longer on average if they received abiraterone before chemotherapy than if they did not.
Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: "This data further confirms the huge benefits of abiraterone for men with incurable prostate cancer who haven't yet received chemotherapy. We want to see this additional evidence swiftly lead to this use of abiraterone being routinely available for all men who need it in the UK."