We’re always looking for good news on cancer treatment and found one that could affect us personally. A new study on 150 men with advanced prostate cancer found nearly 90% of them could be helped with drugs already available or under study! That’s great considering it’s the second deadliest cancer for men behind skin cancer.
These men had MCRPC which is metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer where the cancer cells have spread to other tissues. A sequence of the tumors show MCRPC is fundamentally different from primary prostate cancer and requires therapy targeting its specific mutations. This means prostate cancer should be analyzed like cancers of the lung, breast and colon, which are routinely sequenced to determine the best treatment.
To prove the point, nearly two-thirds of the men in the study were found to have mutations that don’t respond to hormone therapy commonly used in prostate treatment. About 20% actually had mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, the same genes linked to breast cancer in women that would respond to drugs, such as PARP inhibitors, used to treat these cancers. The study revealed 8% of patients had an inherited genetic alteration in the BRCA2 gene so incorporating genetic counseling for their family members should become routine.
Researchers plan to sequence the prostate tumors of five hundred more men and monitor their treatments. This will help link specific mutations to individualized treatment to determine which can provide the best outcome. This is a great example of personalized medicine in order to match each person’s unique disease with the best care.