Jefferson Prostate Cancer Research in the News

Dr. Robert Den, a radiation oncologist and Co-Director of Jefferson’s Multidisciplinary Genitourinary Oncology Center, and Dr. Leonard Gomella, the Chair of the Department of Urology and Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network at Thomas Jefferson University, were featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer for their recent prostate cancer study.

Though prostate is the third-most common cancer in the United States behind breast and lung cancers, it’s one of the most frustrating — sometimes remaining hidden in a man’s body for many years until they die of other causes, other times spreading quickly and killing. There are also disparities in prostate cancer, as the most aggressive forms often disproportionately affect African-American men.

Now, sophisticated genetic studies could help researchers determine and more effectively treat the different types of cancers. “This whole area of genomics is taking everything by storm right now,” Dr. Gomella told the Inquirer. “It’s had a major impact on urology over the past two or three years.”

According to the article, researchers studied over 400 men who had undergone radical prostatectomies and found 20 common genes, known as biomarkers, associated with prostate cancer. Some of the genes were associated with a particularly aggressive form of the disease that tends to spread to the lymph nodes or liver even after surgery.

What does this mean for patients? Dr. Den explains, “Now we can tell patients the chances of biochemical recurrence in three years, five years from surgery. We might be able to tailor postoperative treatments better, and determine the best therapy for each man.”

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