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Tailoring drugs and treatment for advanced prostate cancer may soon be more effective thanks to a study by US scientists.
They have found that the number of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in the blood are a better indication of the chances of survival than PSA (prostate specific antigen).
Professor Howard Scher, from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York reports in The Lancet Oncology: “CTC numbers … can be used to monitor disease status and might be useful as an intermediate endpoint of survival in clinical trials.”
Prostate cancer is not easy to track after it can no longer be controlled by hormone treatments. CTC count can be used to track the status of the disease and a patient’s response to chemotherapy.
John Neate, chief executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity, said: “Once prostate cancer has advanced to the stage where chemotherapy is an option – which is at a late stage of the disease, unlike in many other cancers – doctors face uncertainty about the effectiveness of the treatment.
“Whilst further trials are necessary, this new research shows that measuring the number of circulating tumour cells seems to improve prediction of how men will respond to chemotherapy.”
Copyright Press Association 2009