Advancements in Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is a necessary time to increase awareness and highlight the importance of the second most common cancer in men worldwide—prostate cancer.
Fortunately, advancements in prostate cancer research have led to promising improvements in treatment possibilities. In recent years, breakthroughs in risk identification, early detection, and targeted treatments and therapies are helping to provide better outcomes for men with the disease.
Genetically associated prostate cancer has been recognized in many cases with a category of mutations involved in DNA repair named Homologous Recombination Repair defects. Although most men do not have an underlying gene mutation, men with certain gene mutations in their cancer cells, such as BRCA2, a class of drugs called PARP inhibitors, can target the cancer cells. Identifying if a patient is a gene carrier can have considerable therapeutic implications and may help patients see long-term benefits when diagnosed and treated early. Gene signature tests can also help predict whether the cancer is less likely to spread or metastasize with the incorporation of anti-androgen therapy.
There are also new updates in terms of novel imaging techniques. Improvements in biopsy techniques, such as magnetic resonance (MR) guided biopsies, have allowed cancers to be more reliably detected. The development of tests that look at the gene profile of prostate cancer cells can help determine the best treatment course for newly diagnosed men. Advancements in imaging are paving the way to more clearly identifying sites of recurrence to deliver more optimal localized therapy.
Amongst the newest prostate cancer imaging and therapy is advanced prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-based PET scans can help doctors accurately assess
the extent of disease at diagnosis or recurrence. It also has new therapeutic implications based on a new treatment recently approved by the FDA, named Pluvicto (Lutetium 177),
which comprises a radioactive component and a drug component that targets PSMA (a protein seen in many prostate cancer cells). This is exciting news for efficacy in patients and the future of prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. The radiopharmaceutical is indicated to treat PSMA-positive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who have previously received other anticancer therapies.
CAR T-cell therapy for prostate cancer is a complex treatment option only available as a clinical trial. In this treatment, immune cells called T cells are removed from the blood and altered in the lab, so they have chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. The altered T cells are then multiplied in the lab and put back into the patient’s blood in hopes of finding the prostate cancer cells in the body and launching a precise immune attack against them.
We have come a long way in the last decade, and there is undoubtedly more exciting innovation in prostate cancer research for the future of men’s health.