Major advances in prostate cancer research

Drugs that prolong life, others that slow the progression of the disease, more precise diagnoses: cutting-edge research in prostate cancer has had good years.

The progress has been extraordinary over the past 15 years because, one, we begin to better understand the disease and second, we begin to convince the public and decision-makers that it is a cancer that must be taken seriously.

Dr Fred Saad, head of urology, CHUM

Florian Jean, a patient of Dr Saad, who suffers from severe cancer with metastases, can attest to this.

<q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"Ça fait 15years that I’ve been going to the doctors and they are trying all kinds of things. And they have extended me to date. And for the moment, I’m fine “,” text “:” I’ve been going to see the doctors for 15 years and they try all kinds of things. And they have extended me to date. And for the moment, I’m fine “}}” lang = “fr”>I’ve been going to doctors for 15 years and they try all kinds of things. And they have extended me to date. And for the moment I’m fine, testifies Florian Jean, 75 years old.

Two years ago, after another relapse, he was offered an experimental treatment that acted on certain defective genes.

Florian Jean

Photo: Radio-Canada

<q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"Il a commencé à faire de la recherche au niveau de l'ADN, à chercher des biomarqueurs. Et dans mon cas, ils en ont trouvé: BRCA2. “,” text “:” He started doing research at the DNA level, looking for biomarkers. And in my case, they found some: the BRCA2. “}}” Lang = “fr”>He started doing research at the DNA level, looking for biomarkers. And in my case, they found one: the BRCA2.

In both men and women, certain mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes predispose to very aggressive forms of cancer.

This is a problem that can now be addressed, according to a study in which the CHUM participated.

It has been shown that we can delay the progression of the disease, the metastases, the progression of metastases. But very recently, the study showed that we significantly prolong the survival of these people.says Dr. Fred Saad.

According to the PROfound study, cancer progression declined by 60% and the survival rate increased by 30%.

Video content is available for this articleDr. Fred Saad

Progress in the fight against prostate cancer

Photo: Radio-Canada

For Florian Jean, Dr. Saad’s treatment was decisive.

There it’s been two years and my aps [le taux d’antigène prostatique spécifique, qui peut indiquer à quel point les traitements sont efficaces, NDLR] went down to 0.09. At the moment, he tells me that everything is going well. He calls me his miracle, confides the septuagenarian.

Another study shows that by prescribing treatment more quickly, we can make significant gains.

It’s extraordinary, it exceeds all my personal expectations because starting earlier improves patients’ likelihood of survival so much, says Dr. Fred Saad, co-director of the PROSPER study.

According to this study, survival increased by one year.

The use of advanced technologies and radiotracers also makes it possible to uncover very small cancers, which were previously invisible.

These patients, yes, they have cancer which looks localized, but we know very well that, according to their characteristics, they are at risk of having the disease which is not detected and which would be harmful to leave untreated, explains Dr. Cynthia Ménard, radiation oncologist at the CHUM.

In a preliminary study, the diagnostic accuracy of 50% of the participants was thus improved.

Doctor Ménard answers questions from journalist Normand Grondin.

Doctor Cynthia Ménard is a radiation oncologist at the CHUM.

Photo: Radio-Canada

We have had a lot of success with new drugs, new approaches, new radiotracers, new imagery. It’s a very interesting time to be able to participate in prostate cancer research, she says.

If all goes well, we want to implement this new way of diagnosing this cancer across the country.

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