LONDON, July 30 (UPI) -- There are five genetically distinct types of prostate cancer, researchers have found in a study, suggesting different treatments could be targeted to each patient.
Researchers in the study, published in EBioMedicine, said analysis using their new discoveries is better at predicting how cancer will progress than tests doctors already use, including those for Gleason score and PSA, or prostate specific antigen, levels.
"This research could be game-changing if the results hold up in larger clinical trials and could give us better information to guide each man's treatment -- even helping us to choose between treatments for men with aggressive cancers," said Malcolm Mason, a prostate cancer expert at Cancer Research UK, in a press release. "Ultimately this could mean more effective treatment for the men who need it, helping to save more lives and improve the quality of life for many thousands of men with prostate cancer."
The researchers reviewed 482 tumor, benign and germline samples from 259 men with primary prostate cancer, analyzing samples for genetic differences that would allow them to organize patients into subgroups for treatment better tailored to their condition.
Instead of slight differences between tumors, researchers found five distinct types of prostate cancer based on 100 genes which indicated chances of progression with more accuracy than the commonly used PSA and Gleason score tests. Previous research had shown six of the genes were associated with prostate cancer, however researchers wrote in the study that the other 94 had not been linked to the disease until now.
"The next step is to confirm these results in bigger studies and drill down into the molecular 'nuts and bolts' of each specific prostate cancer type," said Dr. Alastair Lamb, of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. "By carrying out more research into how the different diseases behave we might be able to develop more effective ways to treat prostate cancer patients in the future, saving more lives."