Prostate cancer is the second leading type of cancer in men with almost a million new cases diagnosed worldwide each year. Although considered highly treatable in most cases, successful initial treatment doesn’t always mean recurrence isn’t a possibility.
That’s why researchers have been delving down to the molecular level to not only reveal a new ways to predict the potential for recurrence, but also better gauge how effective radiation therapy response will be. In a new study published by researchers from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers introduced a model involving a group of molecules known as microRNAs that can assist with the prediction of recurrence and radiation response.
The study looked at tumor samples from 43 prostate cancer patients who had undergone radiation therapy following a radical prostatectomy. These samples were analyzed with follow up data covering a span of more than four years. The end result was a discovery of 88 different miRNAs that seem to be associated with increased PSA levels following radical prostatectomy. These miRNA biomarkers were separated into two categories: one that indicated early recurrence and one that correlated with late recurrence. Researchers also uncovered nine biomarkers that seemed to be associated with biochemical failure after radiation therapy.
While further studies are required to confirm the findings, researchers are hopeful this breakthrough will assist in the better care of prostate cancer patients down the road. The hope is the model will provide greater insights into the likelihood of recurrence while also assisting in the identification of patients that should be treated with radiation when recurrence happens following prostate removal.
Although often highly treatable, prostate cancer hasn’t yet been beaten. Studies such as this one, however, are moving that eventuality forward by arming medical practitioners with better tools to battle this disease.