The Prostate Cancer Blog for Wives and Partners lets you know when new information has been added to our site. Anytime a new page is created — or we feel there is something worth noting — it will be posted here.
A new blood test may help determine whether or not men with prostate cancer may benefit from treatment with abiraterone (a type of hormone treatment), according to results of a small Italian study (Romanel et al) published in Science Translational Medicine. When researchers analyzed 274 blood samples taken from 97 men, they found mutations in a gene (androgen receptor), which predicted resistance to abiraterone. Men with these mutations were nearly 5 times less likely to have a partial response (defined as a 50% decline in prostate-specific antigen [PSA]) to treatment with abiraterone and were nearly 8 times less likely to have a full response (greater than 90% decline in PSA). While promising, larger studies are needed to confirm the reliability of the test. November 18, 2015.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) as a treatment for prostate cancer in the U.S. This minimally invasive treatment works to protect healthy tissues while targeting prostate cancer with high intensity ultrasound energy that heats and destroys cancer cells. It has been used outside the U.S. for more than a decade. November 14, 2015.
While having a family member with prostate cancer increases a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer, it doesn’t mean he will have a higher risk of having aggressive disease, according to a study in BJU International, as reported by AFR Weekend. Swiss researchers followed nearly 5,000 men who had PSA testing every four years. Within that group, 334 men had a family history of prostate cancer (18% of these men developed the disease). In the group of men who did not have a family history, 12% developed prostate cancer. Researchers found that there was no significant difference in markers or scores among men in both groups, following radical prostatectomy. November 12, 2015.
The incidence of metastatic prostate cancer was almost cut in half with widespread PSA testing in the 1990s, according to a perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The median age of diagnosis also fell by 2 years from 71.8 years to 69.8 years for advanced prostate cancer in men over 40 years of age. November 8, 2015.
Men undergoing radiation therapy get no benefit from supplements that contain palmetto or other ingredients, including improving their prognosis or reducing radiation therapy toxicity, according to new research that was presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting. The retrospective study looked at 2,207 men who were treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy for localized prostate cancer. Interestingly, only 10% of men were taking supplements for men’s health or prostate health. Half were taking some kind of supplement. November 5, 2015.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has posted its draft research plan on prostate cancer screening. You can review it and comment on it here from now through November 26, 2015. USPSTF recommends against using PSA testing as a screening method for prostate cancer. If you disagree (as we do) this is your opportunity to be heard! October 30, 2015.
Back in 2011, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) proclaimed that the potential harms of PSA-based screening outweighed the benefits (such as early detection). To no-one’s surprise really, investigators (Barocas et al) are now reporting in the Journal of Urology that there was an overall 28% decrease in incident diagnoses of prostate cancer in the year after the USPSTF recommendation. Diagnoses of low, intermediate, and high-risk prostate cancers all decreased significantly while new diagnoses of non-localized prostate cancer remained unchanged. In simple terms, this study is clear proof that less PSA screening puts more men at risk for the potential harms associated with a delayed diagnosis of prostate cancer. October 27, 2015.
Giving men higher doses of radiotherapy — but less often — can be as effective for treating prostate cancer, according to results of a large UK study of 3,216 men with localized prostate cancer that was presented recently at the 2015 European Cancer Congress. There were 3 groups of men: Group 1 received standard radiation (74 Gy over 37 days), Group 2 received 60 Gy over 20 days, and Group 3 received 57 Gy over 19 days. After following the men for 5 years, researchers found that the radiation provided to men in Group 2 was as effective as standard treatment, both in treating prostate cancer and for long-term side effects. Bowel and bladder problems were higher in the short-term, but there was no difference after 6 months, or over the next 5 years. October 20, 2015.
We know that testosterone fuels prostate cancer. But a new study that was recently published in the Journal of Urology (Baillargeon et al) found that long-term exposure to testosterone therapy (for medical reasons) was not associated with a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Nor did the risk of high-grade prostate cancer increase. Researchers found 52,579 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Of that number, 574 used testosterone up to five years before their diagnoses. But this was a population-based study that relied on a database of men on Medicare, which means they were all 65 years or older. So we cannot apply these findings to all men with prostate cancer, especially younger men. October 13, 2015.
Men are open to the idea of having cancer-detecting biosensors implanted into their bodies — which will essentially make them cyborgs — according to new research published in Science as Culture (Haddow, et al). When men with prostate cancer were interviewed, they expressed that they would accept biosensors that could warn doctors if they experience cancer recurrence. The study also suggests that men who have cancer are pretty much willing to try any technology despite the risk of device failure. September 28, 2015.
Here’s some encouraging news: There is a new catalyst — made of palladium nanocubes coated with iridium — that can make a standard PSA test 110 times more sensitive, according to research that was published online in ACS Nano. The discovery was made by a team of graduate students from several colleges. If developed commercially, it has the promise of advancing early cancer detection. September 25, 2015.
Don’t hold the hot chili pepper. Capsaicin, the ingredient responsible for the “heat” in chili peppers, has been shown in high doses to kill prostate cancer cells in mice without affecting healthy cells. Since it’s not feasible to consume large quantities of chili peppers a day, researchers are now working to understand how its power can be safely harnessed, according to research published in American Chemical Society’s The Journal of Physical Chemistry. September 22, 2015.
Daily pomegranate extract (8 ounces of liquid extract per day) did not significantly prolong PSA doubling time compared to juice or placebo in a new study (Pantuck et al) of men being treated for prostate cancer, which was published in the July 14 online edition of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. In this study, 102 men who had a rising PSA received pomegranate extract, 17 men drank juice, and 64 men received placebo. The majority of men underwent prior surgery or radiation therapy and had prostate cancer initially staged as T2c or less. The median PSA doubling time increased by 4.5 months in the placebo group (11.1 to 15.6 months). Doubling time increased by 1.6 months in the pomegranate extract group (from 12.9 months to 14.5 months). In the juice group, PSA doubling time increased by 7.6 months (12.7 to 20.3 months). But none of the changes between the three groups were significantly significant. August 17, 2015.
Higher radiation doses are only beneficial for men with medium- and high-risk prostate cancer, according to a new study (Kalbasi et al) from researchers at Penn Medicine, which was published in the July 16th online edition of JAMA. When researchers compared overall survival from medical records of 12,229 men with low-risk prostate cancer to 16,714 men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer, and 13,538 men with high-risk prostate cancer, they determined that there was no survival benefit for men in the low-risk group. For every incremental increase of about 2 Gy in radiation dose, there was a 7.8% and 6.3% reduction in the hazard of death in for intermediate and high-risk men with prostate cancer respectively. July 30, 2015.
Six biomarkers that were used together predicted aggressive prostate cancer in men of color, according to a study (Yamoah et al) that was published in the July 20th online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers looked at 20 biomarkers in 154 African American men and 243 European American men from four different medical centers who underwent a radical prostatectomy and had lymph nodes removed. They identified 6 biomarkers (ERG, AMACR, SPINK1, NKX3-1, GOLM1 and an androgen receptor) that showed statistically significant differential expression between the two groups of men. African American men are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer. July 25, 2015.
Always consult a medical professional.