Tumor Cells in Blood of Prostate Cancer Patients May Predict Likelihood of Metastasis

Tumor Cells in Blood of Prostate Cancer Patients May Predict Likelihood of Metastasis
Identifying certain tumor cells circulating in the blood of prostate cancer patients may be a non-invasive way of detecting cancer spread, according to a study presented at the recent National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference, held in Liverpool. The study, "Capture of circulating tumour cells with epithelial and mesenchymal features for prostate cancer prognosis," was conducted by researchers at the Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University, and suggests that tests of circulating tumor cells expressing the mesenchymal marker vimentin may aid in predicting and monitoring prostate cancer progression. Screening for prostate cancer now relies mainly on PSA tests and digital rectal exams, followed by prostate biopsies. But better approaches are required, particularly after health authorities started recommending against PSA tests to detect this cancer, based on reports that men with low PSA levels may also have prostate cancer. "There's a need to develop better tests to identify and monitor men with aggressive prostate cancer," Dr. Chris Parker, chair of the NCRI's Prostate Cancer Clinical Studies Group, said in a news release. "This research has found a promising new marker that could one day make it to the clinic to guide treatment decisions." Researchers studied samples from 80 men with prostate cancer, looking particularly for cancer cells that had
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Inês Martins holds a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on blood vessels and their role in both hematopoiesis and cancer development.

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