NEW: Blood test ‘can check for more than 50 types of cancer’
A simple blood test can check for more than 50 types of cancer, often before any signs or symptoms, scientists say.Â It could help diagnose tumours sooner, when they are easier to treat and, ideally, cure, American and British experts hope. See more here
First oral hormone therapy approved
A new oral therapy for hormone treatment has been approved in the US. The tablet, relugolix, is taken daily to stop testosterone being produced. It stops the need for injections or implants. In a trial it reduced the time taken for testosterone to fall and saw a decrease in major cardiac events (such as heart attack and stroke). See more here
Aspirin ‘cuts deaths’
Aspirin is claimed in the US to reduce the risk of mortality for high-risk PCa patients. But more research is needed. See more here
Hope of new drugs
Scientists have taken a step towards developing a new type of drug that could help treat prostate cancer. A Scottish professor has spent a decade developing a chemical that could target a different protein in cancer cells compared with other treatments. If taken to clinical trials and deemed successful, the new drug could potentially not only stop the cancer from growing but also increase the effectiveness of other existing treatments (Feb ’20). See more here. And London researchers have found drug fragments which could help improve understanding of the function of a key cancer protein and ultimately lead to new drug treatments. The fragments identified in the work could be potential building blocks of future drugs. More here
Hope for ‘super responders’
A major trial of an immunotherapy drug has shown it can be effective in some advanced PCa patients. The men had stopped responding to the main treatment options.Â Researchers found that a small proportion of men, described as “super responders”, remained well even after the trial ended, despite a very poor prognosis before treatment. One in 20 men with advanced PCa responded to the drug pembrolizumab – and saw their tumours actually shrink or disappear. Although a relatively small number, some of them gained years of extra life, the study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found. And 19% saw some evidence of improvement. The phase II clinical trial, led by the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden, involved 258 men with advanced prostate cancer who had run out of all other options on treatment (Nov 19). See more here
World first for drug
A Las Vegas man is the first in the world to begin PCa treatment with a drug called Arvinas. Researchers associated with Yale University developed Arvinas to target the way a cancer cell survives (May ’19). Read more at
Gut bacteria might affect treatment
The millions of bacteria in the gut night have more to do with the effectiveness of PCa treatment than we realise, says scientist Karen Sfanos, PhD. âThe gut microbiome can influence cancer therapy by its ability to chemically modify drugs.â This relationship works both ways: âCancer-fighting drugs can also alter the composition of the bacterial species in the gut â and this, in turn, may affect how well that treatment works.â See more here
Bid to save sexual potency
A technique is being trialled in London to reduce the risk of men losing their sexual potency from prostate cancer surgery.Â The next stage, due to start in January â19, is to secure funding to recruit up to 400 patients and expand the trial to Bristol and Sheffield. See here.
Stampede trial a success
Radiotherapy could extend thousands of lives, the Stampede study found. The trial, based at University College London, dealt with men with locally-advanced cancer (Oct â18). See here
Two trials ‘destroy cancer’
Drug gets body cells to ‘eat and destroy’ cancer. The US team behind the study hope to begin human trials within a few years. See here. And US researchers have found a way to clear cancer in mice with immune-system stimulating injections. A report in the Science Translational Medicine Journal shows promise in terms of destroying tumours. The new approach is a form of immunotherapy. See here.
Two big breakthroughs
The biggest leap in diagnosing PCa “in decades” has been made using new advanced MRI scanners. See. Also this. But only a third of men can benefit, says Prostate Cancer UK. See here. And a PCa vaccine is among trailblazing research being backed by the charity with Â£2.7m. See here.
Brisk walking ‘lowers risk’
A US study found a link between brisk walking and lowered risk of prostate cancer progression. See here.
Prostate cancer subtypes identified
Researchers have identified and validated three distinct molecular subtypes of prostate cancer that correlate with distant metastasis-free survival. This can help in future research to determine how patients will respond to treatment, according to research presented to the American Society for Radiation Oncology. Findings represent a step towards the implementation of personalised medicine in PCa care. See here
Urine test created
Scientists have created a urine test for prostate cancer after Bristol trials. See here
Cancer and genes
There is strong evidence that certain menâs genes predispose them to PCa. This has led to the development of a EU-wide targeted screening study in 18 countries.
Genetic variants which increase risk
The UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study collects blood DNA samples from over 300 UK centres and is the leading effort to find genetic variants which increase PCa risk. This study will last about another 7 years. It has made considerable advances in discovering genetic variants which have led to targeted treatments.
Tumour-causing genes fused by male hormones
Scientists at the Institute of Cancer at Queen Mary University of London have found that male hormones play a key role in promoting a specific genetic change that fuels tumourÂ growth. Identifying the genes that are regulated by these hormones is a major step forward in finding new therapies. The study focused on male sex hormones called androgens, which cause genes that are normally far apart to fuse together. The team found that androgens promote the fusion of two specific genes which fuel cancer growth.
Early warning proteins discovered
Bristol University researchers have identified two âgrowth factorâ proteins present in higher levels in PCa patients. Thw lead author of the study said more research was needed.