A new study from the University of Manchester, UK, has found a way to identify men with locally advanced prostate cancer who are less likely to respond well to radiotherapy.
The study, led by Professor Catharine West from Manchester University, created a method of selecting prostate cancer patients who would benefit from treatments targeting oxygen-deficient tumours.
Tumour hypoxia is associated with a poor prostate cancer prognosis. The lower the oxygen, the greater the resistance to treatment and the more likely a tumour will spread.
Identifying hypoxic tumour tissue
Following analysis of human cells and patient survival data, researchers identified a 28-gene signature which accurately identifies hypoxic tumour tissue in patients with prostate cancer which invades nearby structures.
The five-year survival rate for most men with local prostate cancer, according to cancer.ne, is nearly 100%, 98% of whom are alive after ten years and 96% for at least 15 years.
Those diagnosed with the disease that has spread to other parts of the body have a five-year survival rate of 29%.
West said: “90% of prostate cancer patients are diagnosed with localised cancer, which have a highly variable course of disease progression.
“And we know that combining hypoxia-targeting treatment with radiotherapy has been shown to improve local control of tumours and survival of patients in head and neck and bladder cancers.”
She added: “This study has built on work to identify possible ways for measuring hypoxia in prostate cancer using gene signatures.
“Until now, there has been no clinically validated method of selecting prostate cancer patients who would benefit from hypoxia-modifying treatment.
“Though there is some way to go before this can be used clinically, it’s a significant development and could signal a new phase in treating this disease within a few years.”
According to Cancer Research UK, over 11,000 men still die from the disease every year in the UK.
Press release: University of Manchester