The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and Addenbrooke’s Hospital has published a study identifying five distinct types of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK and around 10,000 deaths occur each year in the UK; with approximately 41,700 cases diagnosed every year.
The research participants included 250 men and the researchers analyzed prostate tissue from cancerous and healthy men. The researchers looked for abnormal chromosomes and compared the activity of 100 different genes. The prostate cancer tumors were grouped into five distinct types and each had a differentiated, characteristic genetic profile and were better at predicting which cancers were most aggressive compared to the standard PDA test and Gleason scores.
“Our exciting results show that prostate cancer can be classified into five genetically-different types”, said
Study author Dr Alastair Lamb, from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. “These findings could help doctors decide on the best course of treatment for each individual patient, based on the characteristics of their tumour”.
“The next step is to confirm these results in bigger studies and drill down into the molecular ‘nuts and bolts’ of each specific prostate cancer type. By carrying out more research into how the different diseases behave we might be able to develop more effective ways to treat prostate cancer patients in the future, saving more lives.”
“The challenge in treating prostate cancer is that it can either behave like a pussycat — growing slowly and unlikely to cause problems in a man’s lifetime — or a tiger — spreading aggressively and requiring urgent treatment”, said Professor Malcolm Mason, a Cancer Research UK’s prostate cancer expert. “But at the moment we have no reliable way to distinguish them. This means that some men may get treatment they don’t need, causing unnecessary side effects, while others might benefit from more intensive treatment. “This research could be game-changing if the results hold up in larger clinical trials and could give us better information to guide each man’s treatment — even helping us to choose between treatments for men with aggressive cancers. Ultimately this could mean more effective treatment for the men who need it, helping to save more lives and improve the quality of life for many thousands of men with prostate cancer.”
H. Ross-Adams, A.D. Lamb, M.J. Dunning, S. Halim, J. Lindberg, C.M. Massie, L.A. Egevad, R. Russell, A. Ramos-Montoya, S.L. Vowler, N.L. Sharma, J. Kay, H. Whitaker, J. Clark, R. Hurst, V.J. Gnanapragasam, N.C. Shah, A.Y. Warren, C.S. Cooper, A.G. Lynch, R. Stark, I.G. Mills, H. Grönberg, D.E. Neal. Integration of copy number and transcriptomics provides risk stratification in prostate cancer: A discovery and validation cohort study. EBioMedicine, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.07.017