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.