Scientists have established that there are five distinct types of prostate cancer. These scientists have further discovered how to distinguish between the five types of prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in U.S. men behind skin cancer. In 2015 about 220,800 new cases will be diagnosed and 27,540 men will die. About 1 man in 7 is diagnosed with prostate during his lifetime.
The team of scientists is from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The study was reported in the journal of EBioMedicine.
The team believes that their discovery could lead to better treatment because doctors would be able to know which tumors are more likely to grow and spread.
During the study, samples of healthy and cancerous prostate tissue from more than 250 men were observed. In order to group the tumors into five distinct types, the researchers looked for abnormal chromosomes and measured the activity of 100 different genes that are linked to prostate cancer.
The team asserts that this form of analysis was more accurate at picking up the most aggressive types of prostate cancer than tests that are currently used by doctors.
The next step to take, is to confirm these results in bigger studies and understand the molecular break down of each specific prostate cancer type.
Prostate cancer can be challenging because it can grow slowly and sometimes not cause any problems in a man’s lifetime. Conversely, prostate cancer can also be aggressive and require urgent treatment. Unfortunately at the moment there is no mechanism to distinguish the two which means that some men may get treatment they don’t need, while others could benefit from more intensive treatment.
These findings, once expanded on, could give researcher more information to guide each man’s treatment and help doctors choose between treatments for men with aggressive treatment.