Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) Insights – must reading.

The Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) publishes a newsletter called “PCRI Insights” to which I strongly suggest an on-line subscription. The last issue I received was the November issue. The general website for the PCRI is It is also listed in the Medical Resources section of this website. The November issue (Vol. 14, No. 4) included a feature article on Provenge (Sipuleucel-T), the immunotherapy from Dendreon approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of metastatic, hormone-refractory, asymptomatic prostate cancer patients. The article described in detail how Provenge works as well as its availability, eligibility and cost.

Also included was an article entitled “What’s Your Shade?” citing a method formulated by Harvard’s Dr. Anthony D’Amico by which the stage of one’s prostate cancer can be described by compiling five factors: PSA, Gleason score, percentage of biopsy cores, and results of rectal and pelvic MRI scans. The goal of identifying one’s “shade” is to ascertain potential risk of relapse (low, intermediate or high) after local therapy and subsequent treatment options if needed.  The Johns Hopkins Prostate Cancer Health Alerts issue of January 12th, 2012 contained a very informative discussion of the TNM (tumor, nodes, metastasis) staging system as used to describe a cancer’s clinical stage or how far it has spread.

The PCRI Insights also contain short highlights and abstracts from recent prostate cancer conferences. The November issue contained updated information on several therapies under development including Ipilimumab (Yervoy), MDV3100, ARN-509 (Prostvac VF) and XL-184 (cabozatinib). In a section on conference summaries, it was noted that C-11 radio-labeled acetate PET scanning was a better method of detecting cancer metastases than the current FDA and Medicare-approved ProstaScint methodology. While information in the PCRI Insights may not be applicable to everyone’s specific medical condition, it provides an excellent overview of the current status of diagnostics and treatments.

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