Can examining markers in the urine distinguish aggressive from non-aggressive prostate cancers?

Institute of Cancer ResearchProfessor Colin Cooper£47,8602010 - 2011

Why we funded it

Most screen-detected prostate cancers do not necessarily require treatment, in the sense that, even without treatment, they would never have caused any symptoms. Radical treatment of early prostate cancer should ideally  only take place for men with significant cancers, so that the remainder are spared the side-effects.

Accurate prediction of individual prostate cancer behaviour at the time of diagnosis is not currently possible, and immediate radical treatment for all cases is a standard approach. Professor Cooper's research aims to provide information regarding key molecules and markers which may allow us, in future, to distinguish the ggressive from the milder cases. This would allow more targeted teratemtns towards those who really need it, whilst sparing many other men the side-effects of radical treatment.

Scientific title

Multiplex detection of prognostic biomarkers in the urine of patients on Active Surveillance

Research project summary

One of the major questions facing prostate cancer researchers today is how to find a way to distinguish, with confidence, aggressive prostate tumours from those that are slow-growing and unlikely to present a danger within a man's natural lifespan.  This is particularly important now that PSA testing is becoming more widespread because we know that most prostate cancers detected this way, in men with no other signs of prostate trouble, are the slow-growing form.  Intensive treatment should be targeted only at men with dangerous cancers so that the remainder are spared the side-effects.

This short pilot project will form the ground work for a much larger clinical trial looking at prostate cancer markers in the urine.  Professor Cooper hopes that a panel of markers can be established that gives a good prediction of tumour behaviour at the time of diagnosis so that men can make properly informed decisions about treatment.  This study will establish the best method of analysing these markers and the best way of preparing urine for analysis, so that a larger international clinical trial can go ahead in collaboration with large prostate centres in Rotterdam and Toronto.