Prostate Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2016

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 trying to develop a better PSA test, either a more specific and precise test or a different test. Researchers are also developing a urine test to find a gene called prostate cancer gene 3 (PCA3) to help detect 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 (see Diagnosis). With improved testing, more healthy men could be screened for prostate cancer, so more prostate cancers could 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 5 treatments.

  • Focal therapies. These noninvasive treatments destroy small prostate tumors without harming the prostate gland. These treatments use heat, cold, and other methods to treat cancer, primarily for men at low or intermediate risk prostate cancer.

  • Tests to evaluate the success of treatment. Research continues to evaluate biomarkers in the blood to determine the effectiveness of a treatment and 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 in clinical trials, including special targeted drugs, chemotherapy, ADT, and immunotherapy.

  • Palliative 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.

  • Visit the website of the Conquer Cancer Foundation to find out how to help support research for every cancer type. Please note this link takes you to a separate ASCO website. 

The next section in this guide is Coping with Side Effects, and it offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, and social changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.