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GEN News Highlights : Feb 23, 2007

OHSU Identifies Marker for Prostate Cancer Survival

Higher CRP is associated with shorter survival and a lower probability of response to chemotherapy.

A researcher has identified a protein that is a strong indicator of survival for men with advanced prostate cancer. The C-reactive protein, also known as CRP, is produced by the liver and is elevated in the presence of inflammation.

"This could mean that a simple blood test that is already available could help patients and doctors make better decisions as they become more informed about what to expect from the prostate cancer they are facing," notes Tomasz Beer, M.D., director of the prostate cancer research at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Cancer Institute, associate professor of medicine, OHSU School of Medicine.

The finding that higher CRP is associated with shorter survival and a lower probability of response to chemotherapy is a result of a secondary analysis of inflammatory markers in patients enrolled in the ASCENT study, a Phase II trial that evaluated treatment with docetaxel and DN-101, a high dose formulation of calcitriol, or docetaxel with a placebo. DN-101, or Asentra, is Novacea’s candidate for prostate cancer currently in Phase III.

"While sometimes inflammation may slow the cancer, an increasing body of evidence suggests that cancer can take advantage of the inflammatory response and the inflammatory cytokines released by the immune reaction may in fact fuel cancer progression. To the extent that our hypothesis proves true, C-reactive protein may be reflecting the overall intensity of the inflammation," Beer explains.

This new finding was observed at OHSU in collaboration with Novacea. The results are published in February in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.