Predicting prostate cancer outcomes for better care

Dr Tarek Bismar sitting in a laboratory
Dr Tarek Bismar, CCS-funded researcher

Many men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer don’t need aggressive therapy; in fact, some don’t need any therapy at all. Instead, by practicing Active Surveillance – carefully monitoring cancer for signs of progression instead of immediately treating it – they can maintain their health and avoid the harmful side effects of treatment for cancers that don’t pose a serious threat.

However, Active Surveillance has its own complications. Not only does it require uncomfortable biopsies regularly, it can also be very hard for clinicians to predict which prostate cancers might progress more aggressively – leading to increased anxiety in patients.

Thankfully, with support from CCS donors, Dr Tarek Bismar and his team have identified a new biomarker linked to aggressive, treatment-resistant prostate tumours, and are working on a test to detect it in patients. If successful, this test would allow doctors to better tailor treatments, sparing patients with less aggressive tumours from toxic therapies and ensuring live-saving treatment for people with more aggressive cancer.