23 July 2019

Radical New Treatment

Gene Test Identifies Which Patients Benefit From Search And Destroy Medicine
Prostate Cancer
Thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer could benefit from a radical new 'search and destroy' treatment, according to a Movember-funded study published this week.

A new class of treatments - also known as PSMA radiotherapy - are starting to show promise in men with prostate cancer for whom targeted treatments and chemotherapies have stopped working.

However, the treatment does not work for all men so scientists have faced the challenge of working out which patients will benefit most.

The new study led by scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London have found that testing men for genetic weaknesses in repairing DNA could pick out the patients who are most likely to respond.

The researchers analysed tumour samples from men with advanced prostate cancer who had been treated at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London, in order to try to understand why the response to search-and-destroy treatment varied.

They found that the target for these new treatments – a protein molecule called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) – was present at higher levels on the surface of cancer cells in some patients than others.

Dr Mark Buzza, Global Director of Prostate Cancer Biomedical Research at the Movember Foundation said: “Understanding which prostate cancer patients are likely to benefit from different treatment options is incredibly important.

“We are very pleased to have provided funding for this study which shows for the first time that the amount of PSMA on the surface of a cancer cell and specific changes in a man’s DNA can help clinicians to more accurately predict how he might respond to novel therapies. This is a significant step forward in the field.”

Professor Johann de Bono of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “Our new study helps to explain why some patients respond to search-and-destroy treatments and others don’t. Understanding the biology of response to these new treatments is critical to getting them into use in the clinic as soon as possible."

The findings of the study which was funded by the Movember Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK, Cancer Research UK, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, were published in the journal European Urology.