A multi-modal approach to discover novel blood-based biomarkers for early detection of poor prognosis prostate cancer

Principal Investigators: Mr Vincent Gnanapragasam (Cambridge) & Assistant Professor Tanya Stoyanova (Stanford)

Collaborators: Dr Charlie Massie, CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme and Dr James Brooks, Dept of Urology, Stanford

Funded by: CRUK Cambridge Centre and Canary Center at Stanford Early Detection Joint Pump Priming Awards 2018

Published paper: Discovery of PTN as a serum-based biomarker of pro-metastatic prostate cancer. Br J Cancer (2020). DOI:10.1038/s41416-020-01200-0

Existing blood tests for prostate cancer (PSA) cannot discriminate between clinically non-­‐ significant (indolent) or significant (lethal) disease. Vincent Gnanapragasam, a consultant urologist at Cambridge University Hospitals, is leading an initiative to stratify men diagnosed with prostate cancer according to how aggressive their tumour is. Working with Tanya Stoyanova, a radiology professor at the Canary Center, the project will use data from a number of sources – including tumour DNA found circulating in the blood, protein molecules found in cancer cells and MRI imaging of the tumour – to identify patients with the most aggressive tumours so that they can be treated immediately. Men with slow-growing tumours will also be identified and these patients may not need treatment immediately, but could be monitored closely so that any changes in their tumour can be picked up and acted upon.