New research may take us a step closer to detecting a prostate cancer's aggressiveness

Research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool and partly funded by Cancer Research UK may take us a step closer to overcoming one of the biggest problems in prostate cancer treatment – telling slow-growing tumours from aggressive ones.

The Prolaris test, which has been evaluated by an international team of researchers, measures the levels of activity of genes that drive cell division, known as cell cycle genes. This gives a measure of how active the cells are, which is used to generate a Cell Cycle Progression (CCP) score. The group are still in the process of working out how best to use the test to help patients.

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK said:

“Developing an effective test to distinguish aggressive from non-aggressive prostate cancer could be a game changer for those affected by the condition. As it stands the current diagnostic process is at best inadequate and means some men’s cancers are left untreated until it is too late, while other men are left with life-changing side effects from treatment for a condition which might never have caused harm.

We urgently need to reach a point where we can focus resources on saving more of the 10,000 men who lose their lives to this disease every year, whilst sparing the many others who needn’t have concerns.

The results of this study are certainly intriguing, and take us a step closer to the diagnostic process for prostate cancer that men deserve. We will watch with great interest for developments in this area.”

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