What they want to find out
Each man is completely unique, and so is his cancer. That means a treatment which works well for one man may not have the same effect on another. We want to make treatments more precise, so that they're as effective for each man as possible. Our London Centre of Excellence, funded in partnership with Movember, is dedicated to this mission, and includes the CTC STOP trial.
CTC STOP is based on previous research that shows that when men’s treatment is working, the number of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in their blood goes down. Professor Johann de Bono and his team at the Institute of Cancer Research want to make the most of this, and test whether they can use CTCs to monitor men’s response to chemotherapy for their advanced prostate cancer. They hope CTCs will be a quicker way to tell whether treatment has stopped working, than standard tests like CT scans. This should help to maximize the benefits of treatments, while reducing time spent on drugs that are no longer working.
How are they doing it
The trial plans to recruit around 200 men, all of which are on chemotherapy to treat their advanced prostate cancer. For half of these men, the team will take blood tests to monitor their CTC’s, and will use this information to make decisions about their treatment. The other half of the men will have their treatment monitored by tests that are standard at the moment. By the end of the study, the team will compare how well the two groups of men have been fairing on their treatment, to work out whether CTCs can be used to improve outcomes and treatment for advanced prostate cancer.
Progress so far
So far, the team have started to recruit men to the trial. Some of these men have already benefited from the research in the trial, like Nick, whose treatment plan was altered based off his CTC results. But before the team can confidently work out if CTCs should replace current ways to monitor treatment, they’ll need to continue recruiting men and collecting data.