Promising Biomarkers Emerging Across the Spectrum of Prostate Cancer Care

Researchers seek improved biomarkers to distinguish between malignant and benign disease.

Researchers seek improved biomarkers to distinguish between malignant and benign disease.

Researchers are making progress in identifying biomarkers and developing assays that will help clinicians improve the management of patients with prostate cancer from screening strategies to making therapy choices, according to E. David Crawford, MD.

“Biomarkers are a game changer in prostate cancer—something new and exciting and not that difficult,” said Crawford, a professor of Surgery, Urology and Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado in Denver speaking at the 7th Annual Interdisciplinary Prostate Cancer Congress™, which Physicians’ Education Resources, LLC (PER®) hosted March 15 in New York City.

There is a need for better biomarkers to increase the rate of positive biopsies and to minimize the number of unnecessary biopsies by finding ways to distinguish between malignant and benign disease, said Crawford. Biomarkers also are needed for stratifying low-risk from high-risk tumors once a patient is diagnosed, more accurately staging and classifying disease, and monitoring and predicting clinical responses during therapy.

Crawford outlined the current biomarkers in use in the clinic including tissue, blood, and urine biomarkers as well as imaging modalities. He categorized promising indicators in development into three “biomarker buckets” based upon their potential utility: when to biopsy, when to rebiopsy, whom to treat or not treat (Table). Some of the markers have been introduced in commercially available tests while others remain in the process of clinical validation.

“There are a lot of biomarkers out there but there are only a few that are in use and it is not that difficult to understand which to use and when,” said Crawford.

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