Lab research

What you need to know

  • PROFILE is a clinical trial linked to our London Centre of Excellence, funded in partnership with Movember, which is dedicated to understanding how each man’s cancer is as unique as he is, and developing precise treatments and diagnostic tools in line with this.
  • It is known that genetics play a part in the risk of developing prostate cancer, but the exact genes at play have been largely unknown.
  • The team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has recently helped identify over 100 genetic features which may indicate a higher risk of the disease. In this project, the researchers are testing whether these genetic features, and others previously discovered, can be used as a way to select men for an initial prostate biopsy, to improve diagnosis of the disease.

We are using the latest developments in genetic characterisation of prostate cancer to test targeted screening for men who are most likely to develop aggressive disease .

- Professor Johann de Bono, director of the London Movember Centre of excellence

What they want to find out

It’s known there is a genetic component to prostate cancer, and that men with a family history of the disease (like a father, brother, uncle or grandfather with prostate cancer) are more likely to get the disease themselves. Some of these cases are also more likely to get prostate cancer that requires treatment, instead of cancer that can be watched on active surveillance without having immediate treatment.

A few genetic changes, like a mutation in a gene called BRCA2, are found in a small population of men and are known to have a big contribution to their genetic risk of prostate cancer. But for most men, it’s that not simple, and it’s thought there are many genetic changes that have a small individual effect, but add up to give a significant risk of developing prostate cancer.

Professor Ros Eeles and her team have helped identify over 160 of these genetic features, which contribute to the genetic risk of prostate cancer. In this study, they want to test whether these genetic features can be used as a way to spot which men should be prioritised for prostate cancer screening. This should help men with cancer that needs urgent treatment get diagnosed sooner, while others can avoid unnecessary treatments. The study will also help the researchers understand the role of genetics in developing prostate cancer.

How they’re going about it

The team have already conducted a small-scale (pilot) version of this study. They assessed if men with a family history would accept more intensive prostate screening and took samples for genetic profiling which are currently being analysed.  

The team is now conducting a larger-scale study, called PROFILE. They’re recruiting 350 men with a family history of prostate cancer. They’ll determine their genetic profile to work out how high they score on the genetic features linked to prostate cancer. They’ll then monitor the men for development of the disease over five years, using PSA testing, an MRI scan and prostate biopsy. They will assess if men that score higher on the genetic profile are  more likely to develop disease that requires treatment.

Progress so far

So far the team have started to recruit men, and are planning to continue recruitment for the next year.


How to get involved with this trial

This trial is still looking for men to take part. You can read the information below to see if you may be suitable to take part in this study, and contact your medical team for full details on whether you can take part.

If you’d like support with deciding whether taking part in a clinical trial is right for you, you can speak to your medical team or contact our Specialist Nurses on 0800 074 8383.

Who can take part

You may be eligible to take part in this study if you:

  • Are aged 40 to 69 years.
  • Are Caucasian and have a family history of prostate cancer, defined as men with first degree relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer at <70 years, men with two to three relatives on the same side diagnosed with prostate cancer at <70 years.
  • Are of African or Caribbean ancestry, defined as both parents and all four grandparents from that origin.

Who can’t take part

You would not be eligible to take part if you:

  • Have a previous cancer with a life expectancy of less than five years
  • Have had prostate cancer previously
  • Are unable to have an MRI scan

For full inclusion and exclusion criteria speak to your medical team.

Where the trial is taking place

  • The Royal Marsden, Sutton
  • The Royal Marsden, London
  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford
  • Croydon University Hospital, London
  • Manchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester
  • St George's University Hospitals London
  • The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Ashford & St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Chertsey
  • Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton
  • University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge
  • Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, Camberley
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London
  • London Northwest University Healthcare NHS Trust, Harrow
  • Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter
  • University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent

We try to keep this information as up to date as possible, but there may be times when study details have changed and we haven’t updated our web information. Speak to your medical team, or our Specialist Nurses, for the most up to date information on prostate cancer clinical studies.

Grant information

Reference - CEO13_2-002
Researcher - 
Professor Ros Eeles
Institution – Institute of Cancer Research, London 
Award – Part of the Movemeber Centre of Excellence, awarded £5,204,881