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Test Differentiates Aggressive Prostate Cancer From Those Not Needing Treatment

Armen Hareyan's picture
Healthy Men

A French team has developed a test to differentiate between prostate cancers that are very aggressive and non-aggressive, in order to treat only those who need it.


Treating or not treating small prostate cancers is the question that all urologists are concerned about. Even today, the medical community does not agree on the benefits of systematic screening for first cancer in humans. Every year, 54,000 new cases are diagnosed, and 8900 men die of their prostate cancer.

"Today, if blood screening PSA (a protein secreted by the prostate) can reduce mortality by about 25% and prevent the occurrence of metastases, it is at the cost of over-treatment very important," explains Professor Oliver Cussenot, Chief of Urology at the hospital Tenon.

Half of the Prostate Cancers Treated Wrong

Indeed, the National Cancer Institute of France estimates that nearly half of diagnosed prostate cancers are treated wrongly. These tumors are, in fact, low-risk progressive (death or metastasis) at 10 years or 20 years and do not require treatment.

"Today, more than 60% of diagnosed cancers are located in the prostate and many of them will remain latent for 10 or 15 years. These tumors can be simply monitored. But a third of cancers are progressive and justify intensive treatment, "says the urologist professor Cussenot. Several recent studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine have shown that conventional treatments, prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) or radiotherapy, may be insufficient for approximately 20% of cancers that re-offend.

It is necessary, therefore, to differentiate between patients who do not need a treatment which would needlessly alter their quality of urinary and sexual life and those who should undergo treatment because the disease threatens their prognosis.

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To guide the choice of doctors, Professor Cussenot and his team have therefore engaged in the search for biomolecular markers. They relied on the research program "Tumor Identity Cards" (CIT) initiated in 2000 by the League Against Cancer. Dedicated to the genomics of cancer, this project led by Aurélien de Reynies gathers information on more than 14,000 tumors of about twenty cancerous pathologies.

Forty isolated genes

After studying nearly 1,000 prostatectomy-treated patients around the world, the researchers isolated a combination of about 40 genes associated with aggressive prostate cancers. Thanks to this molecular signature, it is possible to predict the absence of recurrence after treatment, and conversely, identify patients at high risk of relapse after prostate removal and radiotherapy. Professor Cussenot presented these results for the first time at the 20th Research Symposium of the National League Against Cancer organized at the end of January and it is expected they will be published in a scientific journal in the near future.

Also, see how light therapy treats early prostate cancer, a story published by Dr. Harold Mandell. Besides, there are certain types of vegan foods that treat enlarged prostate and cut risks of developing prostate cancer.

Types of Prostate Cancer Treatments

  • Watchful waiting or active surveillance.
  • Surgery.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Cryotherapy (cryosurgery)
  • Hormone therapy.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Vaccine treatment.
  • Bone-directed treatment.

Source: American Cancer Society.

Have you been in a situation where your doctor suggested not to treat your prostate cancer, suggesting that it may be less harmful if not touched? Please, let us know your thoughts in the comments section for discussion.