Experts have been able to identify many of the mutations and genetic damage that leads to prostate cancer through a new genetic screening test, which could ultimately lead to better diagnosis and treatments. The eventual aim would be to have a personal ‘cancer chart’ for each patient, which could be used to assess how personal care should be provided and to identify which patients require more aggressive treatment. Trials from Cancer Research UK show that males with high levels of cell cycle progression (CCP) genes have the most deadly tumours.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in the UK with 37,000 men being diagnosed every year, affecting a third of men over the age of 50. Prostate cancer is currently difficult to predict in terms of how aggressive the tumours are, and the tests and examinations are not completely reliable. Therefore the idea of creating a personal ‘cancer chart’ could potentially save patients with milder forms of prostate cancer from unnecessary treatment.
Professor Jack Cuzick, who conducted the research, used 703 men with prostate cancer, and found that CCP could predict the severity of the disease. Research identified that males with the highest levels of CCP genes were three times more likely to form a fatal form of prostate cancer compared with those with low levels. This coincides that patients with high CCP who have already had surgery to remove their prostate, are 70 per cent more likely to have a reoccurrence of the disease.
The results are promising however they need to be replicated on a larger scale before considering the test for routine use.