Genetic Biomarker Tests Can Help Identify Treatments for Men with Prostate Cancer


The rate of distant metastasis at 10 years was 29% for individuals whose scores demonstrated more aggressive disease compared with 13% for those who showed lower risk.

Genetic biomarker tests can accurately predict how men with high-risk prostate cancer will respond to treatment with radiation and hormone therapy so that physicians can personalize treatment for individuals, results of a new study show.

“This study is the first to validate a genetic biomarker for high-risk prostate cancer using pre-treatment archival tissue from large prospective randomized trials,” Paul Nguyen, MD, vice chair for clinical research in the department of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said in a statement. “Using archival tissue samples from a wide range of centers and patients—hundreds of cancer centers across the country—shows that this test can be helpful for many men with high-risk disease.”

Investigators used Decipher biopsy tests to analyze the activity of 22 genes in prostate cancer and used the score to gauge how aggressive the individual’s cancer was.

They used the Decipher scores to see if there was an association with long-term outcomes.

The genetic signature was able to be used to identify individuals who were more likely to develop distant metastases, more likely to die of prostate cancer, and more likely to die from any cause.

The rate of distant cancer metastasis at 10 years was 29% for individuals whose scores showed more aggressive cancer compared with 13% for those who showed lower risk.

“For a man with high-risk prostate cancer, this genetic score can be a very powerful prognostic tool that can tell us whether he is likely to be cured from treatment or is likely to see his cancer return again,” Nguyen said. “I see this as a great opportunity to change the standard of care for patients in the future by using genomics to personalize therapy.

The study’s findings were presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology Annual Meeting.


Genetic biomarker test predicts recurrence and survival outcomes for men with high-risk prostate cancer. EurekAlert. News release. October 25, 2021. Accessed on October 26, 2021.

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