Researchers develop new test to target prostate cancer treatment

Faith Castro
June 20, 2017

Men with defective BRCA genes could benefit from treatment with Parp inhibitors, and the new blood test could identify these patients.

The test detects cancer DNA in the blood, helping doctors check whether precision drugs are working.

They used it to identify men who were not responding to the treatment in four to eight weeks and also to pick up signs that the cancer was evolving and becoming resistant to the drugs.

The findings are the latest...

Researchers separated about 52 mice with colon cancer tumours into three groups, including a control group and groups that were fed either the grape compounds or sulindac, an anti-inflammatory drug, which was chosen because a previous study showed it significantly reduced the number of tumours in humans.

Three-in-one blood tests could change treatment of advanced prostate cancer that helps to extend or save lives, researchers say.

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They hope this will allow Lynparza to become a standard weapon for advanced prostate cancer that would be targeted selectively at the men most likely to benefit.

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"This is another important example where liquid biopsies-a simple blood test as opposed to an invasive tissue biopsy-can be used to direct and improve the treatment of patients with cancer", commented David Cunningham, Ph.D., director of clinical research at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Furthermore, De Bono said the blood test can be used to make conclusions about whether a PARP inhibitor is effective within four to eight weeks of therapy.

"Blood tests for cancer promise to be truly revolutionary", noted Paul Workman, Ph.D., chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London. Expert commentary: We anticipate that genomic profiling of tumors will become necessary to guide treatment of advanced prostate cancer in the coming years.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Discovery, is also the first to identify which genetic mutations prostate cancers use to resist treatment with olaparib. They found that cancer cells had acquired new genetic changes that canceled out the original errors in DNA repair-particularly in the genes BRCA2 and PALB2-that had made the cancer susceptible to olaparib in the first place.

"We believe it can usher in a new era of precision medicine for prostate cancer".

"The test has the potential to greatly improve survival for the disease by ensuring patients get the right treatment for them at the right time and that they aren't being given a treatment that's no longer working", she said.

The researchers suggest that the findings could pave the way for clinical testing of the compounds on human colon cancer, which is the second most common cancer in women and the third in men.

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