“This has generated a lot of excitement in our field,” says Dr. François Bénard, Vice President of Research at BC Cancer and co-lead author of the study. “We now know this is a highly sensitive and highly accurate test being used to utilize where the cancer is coming back.”
Initial results of an ongoing BC Cancer clinical trial have delivered some incredible results in the pursuit of better treating recurrent prostate cancer. The study, led by a team of BC Cancer researchers, looked at a new class of prostate cancer imaging agents, known as radiotracers, to pinpoint exactly where prostate tumours are located in patients who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer before. Older radiotracers wouldn’t give as clear a picture of prostate cancer sites, or worse, could have resulted in false positives. This study, still in its initial phase, is intended to determine what percentage of patients this radiotracer would work on and where their disease has relapsed within the body. The results, however, have been so precise that doctors are already using this information to change their course of treatment.
“Where we would typically be in the dark, now we can know exactly where their cancer is coming back,” says Dr. Bénard. “If their disease is limited to the prostate gland or pelvis and the patients have not had radiation before then it’s well known that it can be treated with radiation and you can have benefits in terms of tumour control."
While this is an incredibly promising first step, Dr. Bénard cautions that there is still more research needed. “We will only know what this means to patients after long term follow up because those patients at that stage of the disease can live for many years.”
The study is expected to continue for a few more years enrolling approximately 1,500 British Columbians. If you, or someone you know, is interested in participating in clinical trials visit BCCancer.bc.ca.