Using a Patient’s Unique DNA to Improve Prostate Cancer Treatment

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In November 2020, we announced that we had undertaken new research into other genetic variants that are connected to cancer. Specifically, ones that affect prostate cancer.1 Our research has produced a lot of data that we used to create different tests using panels of variants, as well as pointing us to the next steps for our research.

We would like to introduce you to PROSTOXTM. The genetic variants this test measures can predict the level of risk you have (high or low) of developing long-term urinary side effects from radiation therapy treatment. Having this information can help patients and their providers determine the best and safest treatment plan.

prostate cancer treatment choice from dna 1

Prostate cancer is common

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)2 in 2023 prostate cancer accounted for 14.7% of all cancer diagnoses. It is the leading type of cancer in men and the second-highest type of cancer overall.

One in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. No one can be sure who will develop prostate cancer, so the next best thing is to catch the cancer early and also to make the best choices for treatment.

Prostate cancer is very treatable

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, you will face many decisions. It is hard to live with what feels like a foreign invader in your body and most people want it removed as soon as possible. But make sure you pause, because 98% of those who develop prostate cancer will be in remission 10 years after the diagnosis.

Your doctor will go over all the information you need to know, including, the stage of the tumor, prognosis, and optional treatment plans. Depending on the stage and the specifics of the tumor, treatment plans can range from wait-and-see to a combination of treatments. It is important to make the most information-driven decision possible.

Radiation is one treatment option for prostate cancer patients

Radiation therapy3 is a non-invasive way to kill cancer cells. There are different types of radiation therapy used to treat prostate cancer, including:

  • Internal radiation therapy
    • Brachytherapy
  • External beam radiation therapy
    • Conventionally fractionated radiation therapy (CFRT)
    • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT, or ultrafractionated RT)

CFRT is delivered in 39-45 treatments, spread over 8-9 weeks. SBRT, on the other hand, is delivered in only 5-7 total treatments, spread over 1-2 weeks. At this time clinical studies have shown that the cure rate, as well as the risk of side effects from CFRT and SBRT, are similar. Since the different forms of radiation therapy are comparable to each other, SBRT is growing in popularity for its convenience. 

To make sure the whole tumor is receiving radiation, an area larger than the tumor is treated, so some normal nearby tissues are also exposed to the radiation. In addition, because the area needing treatment by radiation is usually inside the body, to deliver radiation to the tumor, radiation needs to pass through normal tissues to get there. Because of this, the surrounding areas can develop negative side effects from radiation treatment, called radiation toxicity. These negative effects on the body from radiation can develop as early as during treatment and within 90 days after treatment (acute) or 90 days or later after treatment (late). Of those treated with radiation, 15-20% will develop late radiation toxicity. 

Radiation toxicity for prostate cancer patients

The most common side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer affect the urinary system. You may hear these side effects referred to as genitourinary (GU) toxicity. The most bothersome side effects are the late GU side effects, as they often do not go away without some medicine or other treatment.

Until recently, providers had no way of knowing which of their patients had an increased risk of developing late GU side effects. Compared to the risks of not receiving treatment, these negative effects were considered worth the risk in order to rid the body of the cancer.

Now, we have PROSTOX. 

The discovery of the KRAS-variant led to discoveries of similar variants linked to cancer and markers predicting how the body will react to cancer treatment. Our most recent research shows that these variants are critical to the body’s response, both locally and systemically, to radiation therapy.

These variants are tested with a non-invasive genetic test, called PROSTOX. The results of this test will help guide you and your provider as you work to determine your prostate cancer treatment plan. If you have a high risk of developing late side effects, you and your provider may decide on a different course of treatment than someone who has a low risk of these side effects. 

MiraKind is offering access to PROSTOX for those who are eligible. You are considered eligible if you have a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and are considering radiation as a treatment option. 

Why would a research group support giving access to a genetic test like PROSTOX? We need your help. We study what happens to those people who carry these variants and those who do not. It is an important part of our research to better understand those who are affected by the variants we study. 

By offering access to testing, we require you to enroll in our research registry. Your involvement will help us understand the role these variants play in people and help us find even more variants. In turn, this will improve future cancer treatments and treatment options.  

PROSTOX is allowing prostate cancer patients to choose better treatments

PROSTOX is one of the first steps to whole person-centered individualized cancer care, allowing patients and their doctors to choose the best and safest treatment. We don’t plan on stopping here, as our research continues to perfect what we know and find new ways to improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with cancer. 


References

  1. https://mirakind.org/new-clinical-trial-for-treatment-in-prostate-cancer-patients-with-specific-genetic-biomarkers/
  2. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/prost.html
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpK3JhVUNDk

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Disclaimer

Any discussion of medical management options on this website is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute a medical recommendation. All medical management decisions should be made based on consultation between each patient and his or her healthcare professional.

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