Prostate Cancer: Latest Research

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about prostate cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options that are best for you.

Finding causes of prostate cancer. Researchers continue to explore the link between nutrition and lifestyle factors and the development of prostate cancer.

Early detection. Researchers are developing a better PSA test, either a more specific and precise test or a totally different test. Researchers are also developing a urine test to find a substance called prostate cancer gene 3 (PCA3) to help find prostate cancer. Because PCA3 is made by the body in larger amounts when a man has prostate cancer, doctors could use the test to decide if a man needs a prostate biopsy. With improved testing, more healthy men could be screened for prostate cancer, so more prostate cancers can be found and treated early.

Improved surgical techniques. Better techniques for nerve-sparing surgery can decrease the risk of urinary and sexual side effects for men who need a radical prostatectomy.

Shorter radiation therapy schedules. With better, more precise external-beam radiation therapy, researchers are exploring much shorter and more convenient treatment schedules. Instead of 40 treatments, researchers are evaluating 28, 12, or only five treatments.

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). This procedure, which is still being researched in the United States, uses transrectal ultrasound to heat and destroy cancer cells.

Other tests to evaluate the success of treatment. Research continues to evaluate biomarkers in the blood to determine the effectiveness of a treatment or to better assess the cancer’s response to treatment. Blood tests measuring circulating tumor cells (CTC) are one such test. CTC are cells that have broken free from the tumor.

Improved therapy for advanced prostate cancer. Researchers are exploring different treatment options for advanced prostate cancer, including special targeted drugs, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy, through clinical trials.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current prostate cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding prostate cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

  • To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.
  • Review research announced at ASCO's Annual Meetings and recent Genitourinary Cancers Symposia.
  • Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research for prostate cancer. Please note this link takes you to a separate ASCO website.

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.