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New blood test could extend prostate cancer survival

A new three-in-one blood test could transform treatment of advanced prostate cancer by enabling precision drugs to be given targeting mutations in the BRCA genes.

A new three-in-one blood test could transform treatment of advanced prostate cancer by enabling precision drugs to be given targeting mutations in the BRCA genes

prostate
A new blood test that could transform treatment
of advanced prostate cancer. Picture: iStock

Scientists have developed a three-in-one blood test that could transform treatment of advanced prostate cancer through precision drugs targeting mutations in the BRCA genes.

By testing the cancer DNA in the bloodstream of 49 men with the condition at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, researchers determined who was more likely to benefit from treatment with the new cancer-killing drug olaparib.

The DNA analysis also allowed the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden researchers to identify those who were not responding and switch them to an alternative therapy.

Standard treatment

Monitoring the men’s blood throughout treatment then allowed the researchers to spot if the cancer was becoming resistant to the drugs.

The academics found men whose blood levels of cancer DNA had decreased at eight weeks after treatment survived an average of 17 months, compared with 10.1 months for men whose cancer DNA levels remained high.

The findings could allow the PARP inhibitor olaparib to become a standard treatment for advanced prostate cancer by targeting men most likely to benefit.


Goodall J et al (2017) Circulating Free DNA to Guide Prostate Cancer Treatment with PARP Inhibition. Cancer Discovery. DOI: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-17-0261

 

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