Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center are beginning a new study to monitor low-risk prostate cancer patients who are eligible for watchful waiting and can avoid the stressful chemotherapy treatments.
"With the advent of the PSA test, we see prostate cancer detected much earlier but there is no evidence that early detection means longer survival. Because of the sensitivity of the test, clinically insignificant tumors sometimes are over-diagnosed
and patients may, as a consequence, be over-treated with radiation and surgery," said Jeri Kim, M.D., principal investigator of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology at M. D. Anderson. Initially 650 patients thought to be harboring low-risk prostate cancer will take part in the study. They will have a biopsy to confirm that it is indeed localized prostate cancer followed by PSA tests every six months to monitor the progress of the lesion if any. "Prostate cancer is one of only a few cancers that can be latent in the body for some time and not require immediate treatment," said Dr. Kim. "Many researchers have documented over the years that men die with their disease rather than from it, and while we need to intervene early, we also need to intervene appropriately with respect to the stage of disease, the man's age, his health in general and quality of life."
Contact: Julie A. Penne
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center