Prostate Cancer :: A new test may determine the recurrence of prostate cancer

According to a research conducted by University of Southern California (USC) an analytical new test will be able to detect the recurrence of prostate cancer.

The researchers said that a new prognostic test can help determine whether a prostate cancer patient will go on to have a recurrence of the disease, even if surrounding lymph nodes initially appear negative for cancer.

“It appears to be a very powerful test and better than anything else we know of for predicting recurrence,” said Richard Cote, professor of pathology and urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Current trials are also using the test to find hidden metastases in lymph nodes and bone marrow for breast and lung cancers.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. One in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, making men 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than women are to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Thanks to greater awareness, as well as increased and improved screening, we see men increasingly diagnosed with prostate cancer in its early stages. Most of these patients will do very well and will not require treatment beyond surgery or radiation therapy to cure their disease,” Professor Cote said.

Cote and his colleagues looked at 3,914 lymph nodes from 180 patients who were staged as having lymph nodes negative for cancer based on standardized histological evaluation (visual scan under a microscope). The lymph nodes were then evaluated for occult (hidden) metastases using new specific immuno-histochemistry tests that can detect cancer on a cell-by-cell level.

The group then compared cancer recurrence and survival in those patients with the hidden tumor cells versus those without the cells. The presence of occult tumor cells was associated with increased prostate cancer recurrence and decreased survival.

“Our research has shown that occult tumor spread in lymph nodes is a significant predictor of disease recurrence,” he said.

“Once surgery is performed, the primary form of treatment is adjuvant systemic therapy. In patients with no evidence of metastasis, success of such therapy is assumed to be due to killing of occult tumor before it becomes clinically evident,? he added.

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