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New 3-in-1 blood test for precision prostate cancer therapies

19 Juin 2017

By looking for cancer DNA in blood samples, researchers were able to identify men with defective BRCA genes who were likely to benefit from a class of drugs called PARP inhibitors.

They also used the test to analyse DNA in the blood after treatment had started, so people who were not responding could be identified and switched to alternative therapy in as little as four to eight weeks.

The test could also be used to monitor a patient's blood throughout treatment, quickly picking up signs that the cancer was evolving genetically and might be becoming resistant to the drugs.

A NEW three-in-one blood test could pave the way for personalised treatment for advanced prostate cancer, say scientists.

"Our study identifies, for the first time, genetic changes that allow prostate cancer cells to become resistant to the precision medicine olaparib", said Professor Johann de Bono, Regius Professor of Cancer Research at The ICR and consultant medical oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS FT.

'We think it could be used to make clinical decisions about whether a Parp inhibitor is working within as little as four to eight weeks of starting therapy.

The test detects cancer DNA in the blood, helping doctors check whether precision drugs are working.

They hope this will allow Lynparza to become a standard weapon for advanced prostate cancer that would be targeted selectively at the men most likely to benefit.

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The new test, reported in the journal Cancer Discovery, was developed with the help of 49 patients enrolled in a clinical trial investigating the effectiveness of olaparib.

The drugs do not generally work on cancer cells with functioning BRCA genes, because these are primary DNA fix tools that make PARP unnecessary.

Checking for cancer DNA in the blood can pick out men who could be treated with new drugs that are given to women with ovarian cancer at present, researchers found. This compared to an average rise of 2.1% in patients who did not respond to the drug.

They found that the cells acquired genetic changes that cancelled out the DNA fix defects making them susceptible to the drug.

"They are cheap and simple to use, but most importantly, because they aren't invasive, they can be employed or applied to routinely monitor patients to spot early if treatment is failing - offering patients the best chance of surviving their disease".

Some patients respond to treatment with olaparib for years but in other patients, the treatment either fails early, or the cancer evolves resistance.

A new research has found that several natural compounds found in food could help to slow the growth of prostate cancer, a common cancer affecting men.

New 3-in-1 blood test for precision prostate cancer therapies