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Research Blog - Page 2

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A new Australian study has asked whether aspects of masculinity are affecting the help-seeking of men with prostate cancer.

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Tracking prostate cancer cases around the world provides insights into the men most at risk of getting this disease and those who are dying from it. New international data show that the countries with the highest deaths rates from prostate cancer are not necessarily the ones with the highest rates of diagnoses. This week’s blog looks at the patterns of prostate cancer diagnoses around the world and asks how this disease is affecting people living in developing countries.  

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Every week there is a new story in the media about foods that cause or cure cancer. This week a study from the USA is reported to show that dairy foods are causing prostate cancer. Is it time to throw away the cheese and milk?

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Men who are carriers of BRCA2 gene mutations have a higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. This information provides an opportunity to catch prostate cancer early for these men. The IMPACT trial has tested whether PSA testing at a younger age is useful for men with BRCA gene mutations.

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PCFA hosted its fourth annual Community Conversations this September during Prostate Cancer Awareness month. Hosted by MC Julie McCrossin, this year’s event was held at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. Community Conversations brings together prostate cancer patients and their families with leading scientists, clinicians and health professionals. The forum promotes conversations about prostate cancer between these people, so that we can learn from each other.

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PARP inhibitors are new drugs that are being developed for prostate cancer. They won’t work for all men but are designed to treat men with defects in DNA repair genes. Four different PARP inhibitors look promising in early clinical trials. Researchers hope that a PARP inhibitor will be the first precision medicine for prostate cancer. This week’s blog summarises the latest clinical trials testing PARP inhibitors for men with late-stage prostate cancer.

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Insulin is a hormone that regulates sugar levels in the blood. Scientists suspect that insulin can promote the growth of prostate tumours under certain conditions. Australian researchers have now shown that insulin can change the nature of prostate cancer cells when testosterone levels are low. This research helps us to identify targets for new prostate cancer drugs.

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Prostate cancer drugs are big business. It’s not ideal that companies profit from illness, but there are advantages to this situation. A large market for prostate cancer medicine means that these companies invest considerable resources into developing new drugs. The news coming from this industry can therefore tell us about the potential future treatments for men with prostate cancer.

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When back-to-back articles are published in one of the world’s top scientific journals, Nature, we know that something exciting is going on. Scientists from two different laboratories have discovered the mechanisms by which a gene called FOXA1 drives prostate cancer formation. FOXA1 is therefore a potential target for new drugs to block growth of prostate cancer.   

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Immunotherapy for treating cancer has been one of the most exciting medical breakthroughs in the past decade. Drugs such as checkpoint inhibitors have greatly improved survival rates for a number of cancers. So where are the immunotherapies for prostate cancer?

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The online tool goes hand-in-hand with our PSA testing guidelines. PCFA’s guidelines from 2016 recommend that:

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This year’s APCC conference brought together clinicians, allied health care, nurses and scientists. The meeting in Melbourne hosted discussions of the latest breakthroughs, clinical trials and best practice in care for men with prostate cancer. A focus on patient-reported outcome measures was one of the many highlights.

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International guidelines recommend genetic tests for men with metastatic prostate cancer. The aim of these tests is to look for mutations in genes that may have contributed to the cancer. Unfortunately, these tests are expensive. They are not systematically performed in Australia. Would Australian men with metastatic prostate cancer benefit from genetic tests?

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Radiotherapy for prostate cancer is constantly being improved. Some of these modifications involve giving a higher dose of radiation over a shorter time-period. Although the outcomes are similar, this reduces the number of treatments for the patient and frees up healthcare resources. This week’s blog describes the latest clinical trial results for ultra-hypofractionated radiotherapy for prostate cancer.

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Men diagnosed with prostate cancer often wish to improve their diet and lifestyle to help fight this disease. The internet is full of advice on foods, supplements and other lifestyle changes. But which advice can be trusted? This week’s research blog examines the scientific evidence around diet and lifestyle changes for men with prostate cancer.

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PCFA staff recently attended the ANZUP Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane. ANZUP 2019 featured a symposium for PCFA’s Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses, updates on the current treatments for different stages of prostate cancer, overviews of current and planned clinical trials and a community engagement forum.

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Apalutamide (Erlyand) is a new drug that delays disease progression in men with advanced prostate cancer whose PSA is rising despite hormone therapy. Apalutamide has now been tested as a treatment at an earlier stage of advanced prostate cancer. This week’s blog describes exciting new results from the TITAN clinical trial.

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African American men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than white American men. Genetics is therefore a risk factor for prostate cancer diagnosis. There is also data to suggest that an African American man with prostate cancer is more likely to die from this disease than a white American man. But a new study from the US has shown that it isn’t genetics that is causing poor outcomes in these men.

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UK researchers are developing a new test for prostate cancer. The test uses a urine sample to look for 36 genes that indicate the presence of prostate cancer. It may also be useful for men who have already been diagnosed. It’s hoped that this new test can more accurately predict the risk of prostate cancer than current methods.

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It’s claimed that responders to the World Trade Center site after the 2001 attacks have an increased rate of prostate cancer. But the evidence so far has been unclear. A new study has found that exposure to dust from the site can affect prostate glands. This research delivers important clues to the changes in the prostate gland that occur when exposed to toxic substances.

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Enzalutamide (Xtandi) is a medicine that helps men with metastatic prostate cancer live longer. In Australia it’s used by men with late-stage disease, called metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer. A large Australian and New Zealand clinical trial has now shown that Enzalutamide improves survival times if taken at an earlier stage, with hormone therapy. But unfortunately adding Enzalutamide to hormone therapy brings a higher risk of side effects.

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For all cancers, the underlying causes are changes to DNA molecules inside cells. Cells with damaged DNA may grow out of control, forming a large clump of cells called a tumour. But what causes the DNA of these cells to change?

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Some men reject their doctor’s recommendations for prostate cancer treatment. They do this for various reasons. Sometimes it turns out well – they avoid over-treatment. Other times it turns out not-so-well. Either way, it’s a difficult decision to make, which has profound consequences for these men and their families. A new study has interviewed 11 Australian men who rejected their doctor’s treatment advice to find out how this decision affected their lives.

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A high reading on a PSA blood test can pick up prostate cancer early. But not all prostate cancers have a high PSA. Some men are diagnosed with an aggressive prostate cancer but still have a very low PSA level. The journey for men whose PSA doesn’t rise with prostate cancer can be considerably more difficult. This week’s blog looks a new research regarding the characteristics of the tumours and outcomes for men with low-PSA high-grade prostate cancer.

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Researchers have successfully made an antibody to target prostate cancer. This antibody binds a protein called PSMA, found on the surface of prostate cancer cells. It is a “biological tool”, with the potential to be part of a new therapy targeting prostate cancer. This week’s blog explains what an antibody is, and how they are revolutionising cancer therapies.

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A non-cancerous, enlarged prostate can be treated with drugs to reduce symptoms. Drugs called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs) reduce PSA levels for these men. This could be problematic, as it could hide the PSA increase caused by a small prostate tumour. Results from a new study in California have suggested that PSA suppression in 5-ARI users was not routinely accounted for during prostate cancer testing, leading to delays in prostate cancer diagnosis and worse outcomes.

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Focal therapies are experimental treatments for localised prostate cancer. Focal therapies destroy small tumours, preserving some of the prostate gland. The aim is to treat the cancer with less side effects than surgery or radiotherapy. But what happens if prostate cancer comes back after focal therapy? Will the focal therapy make subsequent treatment more difficult?

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The internet is a double-edged sword. For men with prostate cancer, the internet is an important source of information for them. It provides information about tests, treatments and clinical trials that is not forthcoming from doctors. But the accuracy of this information is often difficult to assess. This week’s blog describes a study that assesses the accuracy of popular websites about focal therapies for prostate cancer.

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PCFA Staff

Following the update on a new surgical technique for the restoration of sexual function in men post-surgery for prostate cancer, this week we have brought two further articles on the subject that might be of interest to you.

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PCFA Staff

A significant proportion of men experience impotence after prostate surgery. Although there are drugs and devices that can help improve this condition, there remain thousands of Australian men with long-term impotence who are not helped by these options.

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Research Blog

PCFA's Research Blog is regularly updated with articles, written in simple language, about recent and topical research in prostate cancer.