Personalised genetic test to predict cancer risk

13 November 2014

Published in Lancet Oncology, researchers have developed a new test that uses a person's genes to determine how likely they are to get prostate cancer after surgery or radiotherapy

The study, which was led by Dr Robert Bristow, a clinician-scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Dr Paul Boutros, an investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, created the genetic test that is able to deliver a quick and accurate result. 

It is able to determine with greater precision which men who will prosper from surgery or radiation, and those who will need extra treatment afterwards, such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy to tackle cancer.

Dr Bristow said the findings tackle the ongoing clinical problem of under-treating men with aggressive disease, which will return in 30 to 50 per cent of cases. This is often due to the hidden, microscopic nature of the disease that is already outside the prostate gland during initial treatment.

The predictive test analyses biopsy tissue taken before treatment even starts to detect abnormal DNA and its oxygen content, which is a known factor in prostate cancer metastasis. When combined, this information can predict with almost 80 per cent accuracy.

"This genetic test could increase cure rates in intermediate- to high-risk men by preventing progression to this metastatic spread of prostate cancer," said Dr Bristow.

Posted by Philip Briggs​

 

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