Prostate Cancer: Blood Test Could Help Target Treatment
This week an article featured on the news gave details of how a blood test could help identify the best treatment for men who have advanced prostate cancer. Researchers from across Europe analysed blood samples from 265 men with the advanced form of this disease. They found multiple copies of a particular gene that didn't respond to two of the most commonly used drugs, abiraterone and enzalutamide, which are used to treat advanced cases.
More trials are needed but the team hope that the test could prevent thousands of men undergoing unnecessary treatment and allow more personalised care. The drugs arbiraterone and enzalutamide are given to men whose cancer is no longer responding to traditional hormone therapy and has started to spread. Costing less than £50, the test is a quick and relatively cheap way of preventing men from undergoing the side effects of therapy that will fail.
Lead researcher Dr Gerhardt Attard from the Centre for Evolution and Cancer at the Institute of Cancer research in London said: "Abiraterone and enzalutamide are excellent treatments for advanced prostate cancer and some men can take these drugs for years without seeing a return of their cancer.
"But in other men these drugs do not work well and the disease rapidly returns. Currently there is no approved test to help doctors choose whether these are the best treatments for an individual. We have developed a robust test that can be used in the clinic to pick out which men with advanced prostate cancer are likely to respond to abriaterone and enzalutamide, and which men might need alternative treatments."
For this study, published in the journal Annals of Oncolgy, scientists took blood samples from patients taking part in three different clinical trials. Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said the test could be a significant step towards moving away from a "one-size-fits-all" approach to treatment.
About 46,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK every year, one in four of them at an advanced stage.
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This article originally appeared on the BBC news website on 05/04/2017.