Researcher - Professor Rosalind Eeles and Dr Zsofia Kote-Jarai
Institution - Institute of Cancer Research
Grant award - £205,703
Duration - 2014-2017
Reference - PG13-001 Eeles

In a nutshell

A study of the genetic material found in the blood of prostate cancer patients. The researchers are looking for genetic changes in the DNA repair genes to see if people with these mutations are more likely to have aggressive disease.

Why we funded it

It is still very difficult to predict who is likely to develop prostate cancer and, of those who do, whose prostate cancer will be aggressive enough to require treatment. In this study, the researchers will build on preliminary data they have, suggesting that men with mutations in DNA repair genes are more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. They will look at genetic material in the blood of prostate cancer patients, along with men from a low risk group and population controls to see if they have mutations in DNA repair genes. If men with prostate cancer are more likely to have such mutations then men could be offered screening to find out who is at risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.

Progress update

Professor Eeles and her team have finished collecting the blood samples from 1500 prostate cancer patients and 1500 controls (samples from men without prostate cancer) and have extracted the DNA from these samples. The first half of these samples have been analysed, and there are some early promising results.

In the final year of the project, Professor Eeles shall complete the analysis for the remaining samples. The results of this study will determine the frequency of alterations in DNA repair genes in men with prostate cancer, which could have implications for genetic testing in the future to determine an individual’s risk of having aggressive prostate cancer and may also help inform the most appropriate treatment options.