Prostate cancer news reports: Saturday, May 1, 2010


Today’s news reports include comments on studies dealing with:

  • A compound panel of markers for predicting risk for prostate cancer
  • Open vs. robot-assisted radical prostatectomy: urologists’ perceptions
  • Clinically relevant quality of life assessment after first-line therapy
  • A compound panel of markers for predicting overall survival of patients with CRPC

Vickers et al. have previously reported that a panel of four different markers (“kallikreins”) is more accurate than the PSA level along with the patient’s age in determining the probability of a positive biopsy in men who are previously unscreened. The four kallikreins are: total PSA, free PSA, “intact” PSA, and kallikrein-related peptidase 2 (hK2). The authors now suggest that the same panel could be used to predict the result of initial biopsy in previously screened men with elevated PSA levels, and that a statistical model based on data from the panel could substantially decrease rates of unnecessary biopsy in such men.

Lee et al. surveyed all urologists who belong to the South Central Section of the American Urological Association to determine possible surgeon factors for the popularity of robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) as compared to open surgery. Participants were asked to select a surgical procedure for themselves based on two prostate cancer scenarios: low-risk and high-risk disease. The survey results suggest that many urologists believe that an oncologic difference may exist between open surgery and RALP, because significantly more urologists favored an open surgical approach for high-risk prostate cancer (54.3 percent open surgery; 32.9 percent RALP). The reverse was true for low-risk disease (32.3 percent open surgery; 58.8 percent RALP).

Bergman et al. have described a quality of life assessment method that they believe would help to improve the decision-making process for men with respect to urinary, sexual, and bowel functionality and problems (“bother”) after any form of first-line treatment for localized prostate cancer. Basically they sought to categorize “good’ (the best response), “poor’ (the worst response), and”intermediate” (all other) post-treatment symptom levels for each item and then they compared bother scores in men at each symptom level.

Strijbos et al. have reported data suggesting that levels of circulating endothelial cells (CECs), circulating T cells (CTCs) and tissue factor (TF) — either alone or in combination — can be used to predict overall survival of patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) early on (i.e., within 2 to 5 weeks of the start of treatment) when such patients are treated with docetaxel-based therapy.

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