Prostate Cancer research and development

13:53 EST 17th December 2018 | BioPortfolio

Key research areas in relation to Prostate Cancer are discussed below.  Brief descriptions are supported by hyperlinks to the most relevant research papers and current affairs news reports and blog postings - follow these links for more detailed information.

If you feel you need a basic tutorial on prostate cancer, causes of prostate cancer, prostate cancer prognosis, prostate cancer signs and prostate cancer symptoms we suggest, Knowing Your Options: A Decision Aid for Men With Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer. These web pages provide information about prostate anatomy, clinically localized prostate cancer and an introduction to treatment options, including the choice to not begin treatment immediately.

Follow and track Prostate Cancer News on BioPortfolio:

Prostate Cancer News RSS Prostate Cancer News RSS
Prostate Cancer Twitter Account Prostate Twitter Feed
Prostate Cancer Facebook Facebook Prostate Cancer Page
Prostate Cancer email newsletter Daily Prostate Cancer Newsletter

Recommended resources on Prostate Cancer:

Prostate Cancer Genetics

One of the biggest problems now facing doctors and their patients with prostate cancer is figuring out which cancers are more likely to spread.  Researchers are now trying to find genetic clues about which cancers are more likely to grow fast and spread.   BioPortfolio references several research papers on genes involved in Prostate Cancer.  We also recommend that you read Genetics of Prostate Cancer (PDQ®)

Finding prostate cancer early – PSA - prostate-specific antigen

Doctors agree that the Prostate Cancer prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test  is not a perfect test for finding prostate cancer early.  It misses some cancers, and in other cases the PSA can be high when there isn't any cancer.  New Prostate Cancer blood tests, urine test and biomarkers are being developed – recent press items on PSA Tests.

Prostate Cancer Tests - Diagnosis – Gleason Score

Doctors doing a prostate cancer biopsy often use transrectal ultrasound (TRUS), which uses sound waves to create black and white pictures of the prostate.  But standard ultrasound may not find some areas containing cancer.  A newer method, known as color Doppler ultrasound may make prostate biopsies more accurate by helping to ensure the right part of the gland is sampled.  Doctors are also studying whether MRI can be used to help guide prostate biopsies.


Accurate local staging of prostate cancer is essential  for patient management decisions.   However, scans such as CT and MRI can't find all cancers, especially cancer in lymph nodes.  A new type of enhanced MRI might help find lymph nodes that contain cancer and make staging easier.   A newer type of PET scan may also be helpful in finding prostate cancer in different parts of the body, as well as helping to decide if treatment has been working.   Conventional and evolving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, such as diffusion-weighted imaging, dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, and MR spectroscopy, are promising techniques in prostate cancer imaging.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

Newer treatments are being developed, and current treatment methods are being improved at an increasing rate.  These include for example:

  • High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU):  HIFU destroys cancer cells by heating them with highly focused ultrasonic beams. While it has been used more in Europe, it is not used outside of clinical trials in the United States at this time. Studies are now going on to find out if it is safe and effective.
  • Hormone treatment: Several newer forms of hormone therapy have been developed in recent years and may be helpful even if standard forms of hormone therapy are no longer working.   Some examples include abiraterone (Zytiga®) and enzalutamide (Xtandi), which were recently approved to help treat advanced prostate cancer.  Orteronel is another drug that worked will in early studies.
  • Chemotherapy:  New chemo drugs and combinations of drugs are being studied. Some (such as docetaxel and cabazitaxel) have been shown to help men live longer.
  • Prostate cancer vaccines: Vaccines that boost the body's immune response to prostate cancer cells are being tested in clinical trials. These vaccines are designed to help treat, not prevent, prostate cancer.
  • Blood vessel growth:  In order for cancers to grow, blood vessels must grow to nourish the cancer cells.  This process is called angiogenesis.  Drugs that stop or slow the growth of these blood vessels are being studied for use against prostate cancer. Several of these drugs are now being tested in clinical trials.

Prostate Cancer Surgery

  • If the nerves that control erections must be removed during surgery, a man will become impotent. Some doctors are looking at how to repair these nerves with grafts of small nerves taken from other parts of the body or something artificial.
  • Better Radiation treatment technology is making it possible to treat only the prostate gland and any cancer just outside the gland.  Doctors are also able to plan the radiation doses and approaches for both external radiation therapy and brachytherapy more effectively with advanced computer models.

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Published 10th January 2012

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