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Cutting Edge

Title
New prostate test identifies aggressiveness of cancer, improves treatment decisions
Date
05/08/2014
Article

A new prostate test called Prolaris could prevent unnecessary biopsies, surgery, radiation treatments and anxiety by predicting whether a tumor will be aggressive or slow-growing.


Prolaris analyzes genes from a patient’s prostate cancer to determine if any treatment or additional treatment is necessary. The CAMC Physicians Group Urology practice is now using Prolaris to help spot cancers that pose an immediate risk.


“As a clinician, I advocate for evidence-based medicine,” said James P. Tierney, DO, vice chief of urology at CAMC. “The Prolaris test accurately tells me if a patient has an aggressive prostate cancer or not and guides my treatment decisions. I must ask the same question for every patient: should I use surgery or radiation, or should I use active surveillance and watchful waiting? Prolaris helps me answer these critical clinical questions.”


Historically clinicians relied on the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and the Gleason score as primary tools to measure the activity of prostate cancer. Although these tests are helpful, they do not individualize the characteristics of a patient’s prostate cancer. Prolaris provides that critical piece of additional information by helping to determine how aggressive the cancer is.


Prolaris is a normal RNA-expression test that directly measures tumor cell growth characteristics for stratifying the risk of disease progression in prostate cancer patients. Prolaris provides a quantitative measure of the RNA-expression levels of 31 genes from the patient’s prostate sample or biopsy related to the progression of tumor cell division. Low-gene expression is associated with low risk of disease progression in men who may be candidates for surveillance, and high expression is associated with a higher risk of disease progression in patients who may benefit from additional treatment.


According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, behind only lung cancer. One man in 7 will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, and one man in 36 will die of the disease.


Prolaris has been proven to predict prostate cancer specific disease progression in 11 clinical trials with more than 5,000 patients.


For more information, contact the CAMC Physicians Group Urology practice at (304) 388-1900.

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