What Are Some New Diagnostic Methods For Prostate Cancer
Diagnosing prostate cancer isnt easy. Thats because the major tools the prostate-specific antigen test and prostate biopsy arent perfect. PSA levels can be high for reasons other than cancer, and they can be low even when someone has cancer. This makes it hard to know when someone needs a prostate biopsy. Some people end up getting prostate biopsies they dont need, while others can get biopsies too late. Even when done perfectly, the biopsy can miss the cancer cells and delay a diagnosis.
Once someone has a diagnosis of prostate cancer, theyll get a risk class. This risk class tries to predict how the cancer will behave over time. Teams usually pick treatments based on these risk classes. But the tools that help to assign a risk class arent perfect either.
Scientists are working to improve methods for diagnosis to overcome these limitations. The FDA hasnt approved some of these methods yet, and your insurance may not cover them. But even so, they might be right for you:
Research Into High Intensity Focused Ultrasound
HIFU uses high frequency sound waves to destroy cancer cells. The waves create heat that destroys prostate cancer.
Researchers are looking at only treating the areas of cancer in the prostate. They want to find out how well it works and how it affects mens quality of life.
Stage 4 Prostate Cancer Treatments And Prognosis
Stage 4 prostate cancer is the most advanced stage of the disease. It means that cancer has spread beyond the prostate to distant areas of the body. Learn more about this stae, what treatments are available, and the prognosis.
Brianna Gilmartin / Verywell
Recommended Reading: Do Male Dogs Have A Prostate
Improvements In Life Expectancy
A decade ago, a man with metastatic prostate cancer would typically have a life expectancy of two to three years. Today, life expectancy for men with the same advanced disease is likely to be five to six years. In the UK the survival rate for men with stage 4 prostate cancer is approximately 50%, meaning that 50 out of every 100 men will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer*. There is now a much broader range of chemotherapy drugs available for men with advanced disease with greater efficacy . We also have better treatments to control the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer, such as pain from metastases. In this section, we consider in more detail the different treatments that are available and evidence for their effectiveness.
How Will My Cancer Be Monitored
Your doctor will talk to you about how often you should have check-ups. At some hospitals, you may not have many appointments at the hospital itself. Instead, you may talk to your doctor or nurse over the telephone. You might hear this called self-management.
You will have regular PSA tests. This is often a useful way to check how well your treatment is working. Youll also have regular blood tests to see whether your cancer is affecting other parts of your body, such as your liver, kidneys or bones.
You might have more scans to see how your cancer is responding to treatment and whether your cancer is spreading.
Your doctor or nurse will also ask you how youre feeling and if you have any symptoms, such as pain or tiredness. This will help them understand how youre responding to treatment and how to manage any symptoms. Let them know if you have any side effects from your treatment. There are usually ways to manage these.
Recommended Reading: What Are The Side Effects Of Prostate Radiation Therapy
Treatments To Help Manage Symptoms
Advanced prostate cancer can cause symptoms, such as bone pain. Speak to your doctor or nurse if you have symptoms there are treatments available to help manage them. The treatments above may help to delay or relieve some symptoms. There are also specific treatments to help manage symptoms you may hear these called palliative treatments. They include:
This is the team of health professionals involved in your care. It is likely to include:
- a specialist nurse
- a chemotherapy nurse
- a urologist
- an oncologist
- a diagnostic radiographer
- a therapeutic radiographer
- a radiologist
- other health professionals, such as a dietitian or physiotherapist.
Your MDT will meet to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options. You might not meet all the health professionals straight away.
Your main point of contact might be called your key worker. This is usually your clinical nurse specialist , but might be someone else. The key worker will co-ordinate your care and help you get information and support. You may also have close contact with your GP and the practice nurses at your GP surgery.
Treatment By Stage Of Prostate Cancer
Different treatments may be recommended for each stage of prostate cancer. Your doctor will work with you to develop a specific treatment plan based on the cancers stage and other factors. Detailed descriptions of each type of treatment are provided earlier on this same page. Clinical trials may also be a treatment option for each stage.
Early-stage prostate cancer
Early-stage prostate cancer usually grows very slowly and may take years to cause any symptoms or other health problems, if it ever does at all. As a result, active surveillance or watchful waiting may be recommended. Radiation therapy or surgery may also be suggested, as well as treatment in clinical trials. For those with a higher Gleason score, the cancer may be faster growing, so radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy are often recommended. Your doctor will consider your age and general health before recommending a treatment plan.
ASCO, the American Urological Association, American Society of Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology recommend that patients with high-risk early-stage prostate cancer that has not spread to other areas of the body should receive radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy with hormonal therapy as standard treatment options.
Locally advanced prostate cancer
Watchful waiting may be considered for older adults who are not expected to live for a long time and whose cancer is not causing symptoms or for those who have another, more serious illness.
Two New Treatments Approved For Advanced Prostate Cancer
This has been a truly historic week, with two new treatment options receiving FDA approval for men with advanced prostate cancer.
On Friday, 5/15/20, the FDA approved rucaparib, a new medication to treat some patients with advanced prostate cancer. Then, on Tuesday, 5/19/20, olaparib was approved by the FDA for certain metastatic prostate cancers that are not responsive to hormone therapy. Rucaparib and olaparib are both PARP inhibitors, a class of precision medicines, that are used to treat cancers with specific mutations.
For men with advanced disease, these are two more modern weapons in the fight against advanced prostate cancer, a disease state that, in the past, has had few treatment alternatives. For PCF science, these approvals are an important testament to the value of early foundational work which can bear multiple fruits in the form of new treatments, even many years later. Once again, PCF is proud to have been involved since the beginning, in every stage of the research that lead to this development.
The idea that PARP could be the key to finding treatments for prostate cancer came from a PCF-funded team led by Dr. Karen Knudsen of Thomas Jefferson University. PARP is a protein that is involved in repairing damaged DNA. Dr. Knudsens team provided data to prove that PARP is a driver of prostate cancer and that PARP inhibitors can suppress prostate tumor growth and progression.
New Treatment Approved For Late
- By Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases
In late March, the FDA approved a new therapy for advanced prostate cancer that is metastasizing, or spreading, in the body. Called Pluvicto , and delivered by intravenous infusion, the treatment can seek out and destroy tumors that are still too small to see with conventional types of medical imaging.
Pluvicto is approved specifically for men who have already been treated with other anticancer therapies, including chemotherapy and hormonal therapies that block the tumor-promoting hormone testosterone. The drug contains two parts: one that binds to a protein on prostate cancer cell surfaces called PSMA, and a radioactive particle that kills the cancer cells. Most normal cells do not contain PSMA, or do only at very low levels. This allows Pluvicto to attack tumors while sparing healthy tissues.
To confirm whether a man is eligible for the drug, doctors first inject a radioactive tracer that travels the bloodstream looking for and then sticking to PSMA proteins. Cancer cells flagged by the tracer will show up on a specialized scanning technology called positron-emission tomography. About 80% of prostate cancer patients have PSMA-positive tumors for those who do not, the treatment is ineffective.
What Is My Outlook
If youre diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, you may want to know how well your treatment is likely to control your cancer and for how long it will control it. This is sometimes called your outlook or prognosis. But not all men will want to know this.
While it isnt possible to cure advanced prostate cancer, treatments can help keep it under control, often for several years. Treatments will also help manage any symptoms, such as pain.
No one can tell you exactly what your outlook will be, as it will depend on many things such as where the cancer has spread to, how quickly it has spread, and how well you respond to treatment. Some men may not respond well to one treatment, but may respond better to another. And when your first treatment stops working, there are other treatments available to help keep the cancer under control for longer. Speak to your doctor about your own situation and any questions or concerns you have.
Side Effects Of Targeted Therapy
Some men may experience side effects such as diarrhea, nausea and low red blood cell counts. Other possible side effects include:
Liver blood tests may also be abnormal.
One of the targeted therapies for prostate cancer, Lynparza® , may increase the risk for blood clots in the lungs and legs. These drugs may also cause a blood cancer such as myelodysplastic syndrome or acute myeloid leukemia, but this is rare.
Don’t Miss: Can You Remove A Prostate
Targeted Radioligand Improves Survival In Advanced Prostate Cancer
Cancer researchers say they have established a new, life-extending treatment option for men with prostate cancer that has spread and become resistant to hormone therapy. The injected treatment combines a targeting compound with a radioactive isotope to irradiate and kill cancer cells.
An international clinical trial sponsored by Endocyte, Inc., a Novartis company tested the targeted radioligand therapy in study participants with advanced prostate cancer. All subjects had cancers that had spread to other organs and continued to progress after previous treatment with two kinds of drugs, androgen axis inhibitors and taxanes. The experimental treatment significantly extended survival, delayed progression and was generally well tolerated by study subjects, researchers said.
This is a completely new treatment option that extends life and disease control in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer the most aggressive and deadly type, said Tom Beer, M.D., one of the study leaders and deputy director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute.
The added option is particularly important, Beer said, because the existing most effective treatments developed for metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer are now being used to treat early-stage disease.
Some of our best treatments are being used earlier, so by the time you get to metastatic castration resistant disease, you have fewer options, he said.
Research Into Hormone Therapy
Prostate cancer depends on the male hormone testosterone for its growth. Hormone therapies block or lower the levels of testosterone. You might have it to lower the risk of your cancer coming back after treatment or to shrink or slow the growth of prostate cancer.
Researchers are looking into:
- the best time to have hormone therapy
- having hormone therapy in combination with other treatments
Also Check: Does Cialis Help With Enlarged Prostate
Gleason Prostate Cancer Score
1960s as a way to measure how aggressive your prostate cancer may be.
A pathologist determines your Gleason score by looking at a biopsy of your prostate tissue under a microscope. They grade the cells in the biopsy on a scale of 1 to 5. Grade 1 cells are healthy prostate, whereas grade 5 cells are highly mutated and dont resemble healthy cells at all.
The pathologist will calculate your Gleason score by adding together the number of the most prevalent type of cell in the sample and the second most prevalent type of cell.
For example, if the most common cell grade in your sample is 4 and the second most common is 4, you would have a score of 8.
A Gleason score of 6 is considered low-grade cancer, 7 is intermediate, and 8 to 10 is high-grade cancer.
Improving How Long Patients Live
The ENZAMET trialfunded in part by the drugs manufacturer, Astellas Pharma, as well as government health agencies in Canada and Australiaenrolled more than 1,100 men with hormone-sensitive metastatic prostate cancer. The men were randomly assigned to ADT combined with enzalutamide or with any of three other androgen-blocking drugs.
At a median follow-up of nearly 3 years, men who received ADT plus enzalutamide had a 33% reduced risk of death, with 80% still alive compared with 72% of men treated with ADT plus another antiandrogen drug, reported the trials lead investigator, Christopher Sweeney, M.B.B.S., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Men in the enzalutamide group also had better clinical progression-free survival , which the research team defined as the time until the return of disease-related symptoms, the detection of new metastases on imaging scans, or the initiation of another cancer treatment for prostate cancer, whichever came first. At 3 years, 63% of men in the enzalutamide group were alive without clinical progression of their disease, compared with 33% in the standard treatment group.
Although enzalutamide appeared to be effective regardless of whether men had high- or low-volume disease, one apparent differentiating factor was planned early treatment with docetaxel. Nearly half of the men in both treatment groups received early treatment with docetaxel and, for those men, enzalutamide was not associated with longer overall survival.
Read Also: Natural Treatment For Enlarged Prostate
What Lies Ahead: Leading The Way With Alpha Therapies
The coming years will see even more powerful forms of radioactive therapy. The MSK laboratory of radiochemist Jason Lewis and other researchers are investigating the use of alpha particles, which have a much higher energy hundreds of times more potent than the photons used in conventional radiation or beta particles. Not only do alpha particles cause more damage when they slam into cancer cells but their path of destruction is more tightly focused, sparing normal cells.
MSK is building one of the nations first dedicated alpha particle GMP labs at a U.S. academic institution.
These radiopharmaceuticals that we are creating translate very well from bench to bedside, says Dr. Lewis, Chief of the Radiochemistry and Imaging Sciences Service and Director of the Radiochemistry and Molecular Imaging Probe Core Facility. When you see these striking responses to treatment, it brings real hope for the future and our patients.
Advances in radiotheranostics are supported by The Tow Foundation, long-time contributors to MSKs mission.
- A new FDA-approved drug could be an effective treatment against prostate cancer that has spread.
- The treatment uses a molecule that seeks out and attaches to a specific protein on the cancer cell surface called PSMA
- The technology delivers radiation that damages DNA and destroys the cancer cell..
New Hormone Therapy Drugs
Testosterone drives prostate cancer growth, so medications often target it, says Timothy Daskivich, M.D., urologic oncologist at Cedars-Sinai Cancer in Los Angeles, CA. For many years, patients who progressed on traditional androgen deprivation therapy had few options other than chemo, he says. But new androgen receptor signaling inhibitors can provide excellent cancer control and responses in those patients and have shown improved survival chances in patients with metastatic and castration-sensitive disease when given in conjunction with traditional hormone blockade. These new drugs include abiraterone acetate, apalutamide, enzalutamide, and Orgovyx , the only androgen-deprivation therapy that comes in pill form.
Don’t Miss: Aggressive Prostate Cancer Survival Rates
New Breakthroughs And Treatment Options For Metastatic Castrate
In recent years, scientists have made some landmark discoveries in how to treat mCRPC. New treatments for this form of cancer are being found. Also, changes are being made to existing treatments so they work better. If you are diagnosed with mCRPC, your doctor may prescribe one of these treatments:
Vaccines or Immunotherapy. Usually, vaccines prevent infections. Lately, researchers have been looking into using vaccines to treat mCPRC. If your prostate cancer returns despite hormone therapy and is metastatic, your doctor may offer the cancer vaccine sipuleucel-T . Sipuleucel-T works by boosting the bodys immune system so it attacks cancer cells. This is the first vaccine that has been shown to help men with prostate cancer live longer. Other prostate cancer vaccines are also being studied.
New Hormone Therapies. Two new kinds of hormone therapies have helped men with mCRPC delay symptoms and live longer.
Androgen synthesis inhibitors. The oral drug abiraterone acetate stops your body and the cancer from making steroids . Because of the way it works, this drug must be taken with an oral steroid known as prednisone. Abiraterone is approved by the FDA for use before or after chemotherapy in men with mCRPC