Blood test predicts prostate cancer treatment response

4 September 2014

A new study has revealed that prostate cancer patients whose tumours have a shortened protein called AR-V7 are less likely to respond to two drugs widely used in treatment.

The team at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center analysed two groups of 31 men with prostate cancer where the disease had spread and whose blood levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) were still increasing despite low testosterone levels. 

Scientists gave each participant either enzalutamide (Xtandi) or abiraterone (Zytiga) and monitored their PSA levels. If they continued to rise it would be an indication that the drugs were not working. 

None of the 12 enzalutamide group patients who tested positive for AR-V7 responded to the drug, compared with ten responders among 19 men who had no AR-V7 detected. In the abiraterone group, none of six AR-V7-positive patients responded, compared with 17 responders among 25 patients lacking AR-V7.

The team said that further large-scale studies would be necessary to validate the findings, but it could help doctors better identify what treatment option best suits each patient, and which drugs to avoid.

Posted by Philip Briggs​


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