Two newly published studies have proposed new diagnostic techniques to help detect the most aggressive prostate cancer in the early stages,media reported. A study from the University of East Anglia has proposed an innovative way to measure gene expression and predict disease severity in tumor samples, while the Australian study details a new imaging technique that could lead to more accurate detection of metastatic prostate cancer than ever before.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK,” said lead researcher Colin Cooper of the University of East Anglia. However, it is difficult for doctors to predict which tumors will become aggressive, making it difficult for many men to decide how to treat them. “
To develop a way for doctors to better identify the most invasive tumors, researchers examined different gene expression patterns in nearly 2,000 prostate tumor samples. Using a mathematical model called latent process decomposition, the study focused on specific gene expression patterns associated with the most aggressive clinical cases.
This pattern is associated with a cell subtype labeled DESNT by the team, and the more tumor cells of the DESNT subtype in the sample, the faster the patient’s condition progresses. The team believes the technique could be used as a biomarker to separate patients with pre-receiving adenocarcinoma to identify which patients need more urgent invasive treatment.
Identifying the time of metastasis of prostate cancer is critical to guiding treatment. A team from Australia has just released the results of a clinical trial that assesses the effectiveness of a new imaging technology developed to provide detailed data on the spread of disease.
Declan Murphy, senior author of the new imaging study, said: “About one-third of prostate cancer patients experience a recurrence of the disease after surgery or radiotherapy. This is partly because current medical imaging techniques often fail to detect when cancer is spreading, meaning some men do not receive the extra treatment they need. “
Traditional prostate cancer imaging includes a combination of bone and CT scans, while the new technology uses two different types of imaging, CT and PET. Patients are given a molecule called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which activates any circulating prostate cancer cell under a PET scan, while a CT scan can provide detailed body structure data. Therefore, when the two imaging techniques are combined, detailed images of the possible location of prostate cancer cells in the human body can be provided.
Clinical trial results show that the new technology is a major improvement in traditional imaging methods. PSMA-PET/CT scans effectively detect the spread of metastatic cancer in 92% of patients, compared with 65% in traditional methods.
Even more impressively, the new scanning method has a lower false negative level than traditional scanning methods – 29 cases, and only six.
Although this new imaging technique could theoretically be implemented rapidly worldwide, it is more expensive than traditional diagnostic methods. The researchers are aware of the potential challenges of widely implementing the new test and plan to conduct economic analysis to understand the cost-effectiveness of the new technology. But it’s a little bit obvious that early detection of cancer spread can reduce long-term medical costs.
The study was published in The British Journal of Cancer.