Starting A major Research Project:

Using Genetic Lessons To Manage Prostate Cancer Treatments

Categories: Spring 2013
Dr. Catalona and his research collaborators are starting a major research project to learn more about how genetics affects the aggressive behavior and progression of prostate cancer. In the process, they also plan to learn more about who would benefit from active surveillance after diagnosis and who would not.
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Not all things that look alike behave alike. ©photo by Dan Oldfield

In the process, they also plan to learn more about who would benefit from active surveillance after diagnosis and who would not.

Because a large group of men across the United States have participated in active surveillance programs, detailed clinical records and data are available to show which men progressed to more advanced disease and which men did not.

This study will follow men who were diagnosed with seemingly low-grade, Gleason 6 cancer, and who enrolled in formalized active surveillance protocols. Initially, over 4000 of these men from at least 25 different institutional programs will be genotyped, the largest dataset analyzed to date.

The genotypes will be compared between those men who continue to meet active surveillance criteria (low grade, low volume disease) and those who progress to increased grade and stage disease.

The initial portion of the study will be possible through philanthropic funds from NorthShore University (under the auspices of Co-investigator Brian Helfand, PhD, MD and Co-Leader Charles B. Brendler, MD); from Northwestern University and the Urological Research Foundation (under the auspices of Co-Leader William J. Catalona, MD and Coinvestigator Denise Scholtens); and from the University of California at San Francisco (under the auspices of Co-Leader John Witte, PhD).

Also, these researchers have submitted a grant to SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence from the National Cancer Institute) for support to expand the study to other Prostate Cancer SPORE and non-SPORE institutions with active surveillance programs and to confirm the findings of their initial research.

One long-term goal of the research is to develop practical, genetic-based biomarkers that can aid in the selection of appropriate candidates for active surveillance.

More broad goals are to gain new fundamental insights into the molecular pathways involved in the development and progression of prostate cancer, to develop new biomarkers for targeted screening and treatment decisions, and to identify possible new targets for drug treatment and for prevention of prostate cancer.

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