A simple blood test developed by BC Cancer Agency and Vancouver Prostate Centre researchers may help determine treatment for prostate cancer in the near future

Date Posted: 
2014-08-13

A new blood test developed by researchers at the BC Cancer Agency and the Vancouver Prostate Centre is garnering international attention, and has the potential to improve the way a deadly form of prostate cancer, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), is treated.

Medical oncologist Dr. Kim Chi and his team have been able to detect prostate cancer DNA (genetic code circulating in the blood) in most patients with CRPC. When the DNA is analyzed it can provide information on the genetic programming of a particular person’s prostate cancer, which can help guide treatment decisions. Previously, the only way to genetically profile a person’s metastatic cancer was through a biopsy, which can be painful, difficult and have complications.

Knowing which type of prostate cancer a patient has can dictate which drug therapies will be most effective and which will be least effective, allowing doctors to be more precise with their treatment recommendations. In a recent study Dr. Chi and his colleagues evaluated whether the genetic profile of men’s prostate cancer would be responsive or not to the latest hormone therapies. They identified key irregularities, androgen receptor (hormone) amplification and the F876L AR mutation, as determining factors in whether prostate cancer responds to hormone therapy.  The blood test can potentially be used during treatment as well, to analyze changes over time and allow for an ongoing “personalized medicine” approach.

The results of Dr. Chi’s most recent study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) international general meeting.

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