0:37 Learning hours



Prostate biomarkers in translational research

Speaker: Hayley Whitaker, Group Leader, Molecular Diagnostics and Therapeutics Group, University College London

Although prostate cancer diagnosis using prostate specific antigen (PSA) is highly sensitive (80%) it has poor specificity – sometimes as low as 20%. PSA, Gleason grade and tumour stage all have prognostic value but remain unable to differentiate aggressive from indolent cancers and patients that might benefit from different treatments. Although there are thousands of potential prostate cancer biomarkers reported in the literature very few are routinely used in routine clinical practice e.g. PSA, PCA3 and TMPRSS2-ERG. A number of biochemical markers are now being validated to a high standard in multiple cohorts e.g. MSMB, EN2 and SPINK1. Genomic tests on biopsy tissue, based upon mutations in DNA or gene expression have also become increasingly widespread e.g. cell cycle progression score (Prolaris), OncoDX and Decipher.

In this webinar we discuss the next major challenge facing translational prostate cancer researchers - how we refine and combine these different tests to answer the key questions in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer.


Dr. Hayley Whitaker’s translational work takes basic science discoveries from the bench to the bedside. Her work is focused on biomarkers for early detection of cancer and predicting poor outcome and is predominantly in the field of prostate cancer but also includes work on pancreatic and bladder cancers and cholangiocarcinoma. Hayley began her career doing a PhD with Professor Charlotte Bevan on androgen receptor interacting proteins. This was followed by post-doctoral work in Professor David Neal’s laboratory in Cambridge where she eventually set up her own team in 2011 identifying and validating cancer biomarkers. This biomarker initiative focused on routine, high quality validation of membrane and secreted biomarkers in tissue and biological fluids to a level that was suitable for translation into clinical practice. In 2015 Hayley and her group moved to University College London where they work on combining prostate biomarkers with MRI imaging and developing membrane markers into therapeutic targets.