A new study recently published has found a way to identify men with locally advanced prostate cancer who are less likely to respond well to radiotherapy.

Led by Professor Catharine West, the University of Manchester team created a method of selecting prostate cancer patients who would benefit from treatments which target oxygen deficient tumours. The study was funded by Prostate Cancer UK and NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and is published in eBiomedicine.

Tumour hypoxia is associated with a poor prognosis in prostate cancer: the lower the oxygen, the greater the resistance to treatment and the more likely a tumour will spread.

The researchers identified a 28-gene signature, which accurately identifies hypoxic tumour tissue in patients with prostate cancer which invades nearby structures.

The signature was validated using data from across the world in 11 prostate cancer cohorts and a bladder cancer phase III randomised trial of radiotherapy.
According to www.cancer.net, the five-year survival rate for most men with local prostate cancer is almost 100 per cent. 98 per cent are alive after 10 years, and 96 per cent live for at least 15 years.

Professor West is based at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre – a world-renowned partnership between the University of Manchester, the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, and Cancer Research UK.

She said, ‘This study has built on work to identify possible ways for measuring hypoxia in prostate cancer using gene signatures. Until now, there has been no clinically validated method of selecting prostate cancer patients who would benefit from hypoxia modifying treatment.

‘Though there is some way to go before this can be used clinically, it’s a significant development and could signal a new phase in treating this disease within a few years.’

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