A new approach to testing markers of prostate cancer

Why we funded it

We know from work we have carried out with men affected by prostate cancer that their greatest priority for research is to find a better way to distinguish between aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancer. This will allow better-informed decisions around treatment, and prevent men undergoing harsh treatment for a cancer that may never have been life-threatening.

This project is a step towards addressing how we might be able to distinguish the difference between these cancer types.

Scientific title: A new approach to evaluating prostate cancer diagnostic markers in men with a raised PSA undergoing template mapping biopsy.

Research project summary

This study is aimed at providing better markers to test for prostate cancer and to distinguish between aggressive and so-called 'indolent' forms of prostate cancer, also referred to as 'tigers' and 'pussycats'. The research team plan to collect blood and urine samples from 714 men who are due to have a prostate biopsy.

Unlike all previous studies, these men will then have an extremely thorough biopsy, known as a template mapping biopsy. This type of biopsy allows us to accurately assess the presence or absence of prostate cancer, its size and grade. The next step is to test several highly promising blood and urine markers to see whether they accurately predict the presence or absence of significant prostate cancer.

There is an urgent need for better markers of significant prostate cancer that could be used to tell us who should or should not have a biopsy. The team believe that it is vital to test such markers in men who have a template mapping biopsy. This is something that has never been done before.

Grant information

Institution - Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton
Researcher - Dr Chris Parker
Grant award - £199,725
Duration - 2012-2015
Reference - PG10-17