A new development in the testing of one of Australia’s biggest cancer killers, prostate cancer, could help avoid unncessary chemotherapy and improve the treatment of patients.
Sydney researchers have developed a blood test which can track a patient’s progress to avoid them being exposed to long stints of chemotherapy which can carry side-effects such as fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea.
Currently up to 50 percent of patients with advanced prostate cancer don’t respond to the chemotherapy drug Docetaxel which is given after failed hormone therapy.
Usually patients are given Docetaxel for up to three months before doctors know whether they are responding to treatment.
Dr Kate Mahon said the new blood test could shorten that process by searching for a marker in the blood called mGSTP1.
“It’s an epigenetic blood marker, so it’s a piece of DNA that comes from the prostate cancer cells,” lead investigator Dr Kate Mahon, medical oncologist at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, said.