Dx to predict prostate cancer recurrence produces hopeful results

Prostate cancer treatment is in serious need of a diagnostic test that could better predict the chances it will recur. A new molecular diagnostics test designed to address this has generated some encouraging results in a study involving 270 tumor samples.

San Diego's bioTheranostics is developing the Prostate Cancer Index, and the company teamed on the study with Massachusetts General Hospital researchers. Its positive results, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are also a big win for bioTheranostics' French parent, in vitro diagnostics player BioMérieux.

As bioTheranostics explains, the PCI is a 32-gene prognostic index designed to help clinicians predict the recurrence and advance of prostate cancer. They tested it on an independent, blinded set of 270 radical prostatectomy tumor samples and found that it carried some weight as a prognostic tool, beyond current diagnostics tests ranging from the Gleason score to pathologic tumor stage, surgical margin status (which comes close to prognostic value) and pre-surgery PSA levels.

bioTheranostics CEO Richard Ding said in a statement that the validation study proves that PCI can be used as a prognostic molecular marker to gauge prostate cancer recurrence. More than 240,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually, the company notes, adding that using PCI to accurately diagnose the risk prostate cancer will recur would address an unmet need toward managing the disease better.

Better prostate cancer diagnosis and management is catching other researchers' attention, too. Scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA and colleagues are developing something called the NanoVelcro Chip, a technology that could help identify and then grab from blood circulating tumor cells that broke away from tumors. This could allow for better diagnosis of a tumor's advance and a more personalized treatment to combat it.

- read the release
- here's the journal abstract