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Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer arises within a male reproductive gland and is the most common cancer among men in the U.S. About 175,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. While most cases are slow-growing, some are aggressive tumors that grow quickly and spread through the body. 

Our researchers are investigating ways to prevent prostate cancer, including identifying lifestyle choices that can lower risk. They also seek ways to determine which patients would most benefit from treatment and how to improve responses to treatment. And they are learning how to better tailor treatment to each patient’s individual tumor and discovering new therapeutic targets.

Researchers and Patient Treatments

Dr. Heather Cheng

Our Prostate Cancer Researchers

Our interdisciplinary scientists and clinicians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat prostate cancer as well as other cancers and diseases.

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Patient Treatment & Care

At Fred Hutch, our interdisciplinary teams work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our aim is to provide patients access to advanced treatment options while getting the best cancer care.

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Selected Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical research is an essential part of the scientific process that leads to new treatments and better care. Clinical trials can also be a way for patients to get early access to cutting-edge new therapies. Our clinical research teams are running clinical studies on various kinds of prostate cancer. 

Small Cell Prostate Cancer

Small cell prostate cancer is a rare type of prostate cancer. Around 1 in every 100 prostate cancers are small cell prostate cancer. They can also be classed as a type of neuroendocrine cancer. Small cell prostate cancers are very different from the most common type of prostate cancer.

Small Cell Clinical Trial

Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Metastic prostate cancer means the cancer cells have spread to nearby tissue. Most commonly the metastasis occurs in the bones, lymph nodes, lungs and liver. Men diagnosed will often not undergo local treatments of the primary prostate tumor, such as surgery or radiation.

Metastatic Clinical Trial

Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer refers to a cancer that has spread beyond your prostate gland and for which hormone therapy is no longer effective in stopping or slowing the disease. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of prostate cancer cases are castration-resistant, and up to 16 percent of these patients show no evidence that the cancer has spread at the time of the castration-resistant diagnosis.

Metastatic Clinical Trial

Proton and Photon Radiation in Prostate Cancer

Radiation treatments delivered by machines essentially come in one of two forms: photons or protons. The key difference between the two in terms of radiation therapy: Like an x-ray, photon beams will pass through the body and have an exit point, whereas protons can be stopped in tissue without a significant amount exiting the body.

Radiation Clinical Trial

See All Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials

Prostate Cancer Research

Prostate cancer research at Fred Hutch is leading to new paradigms for prevention, screening and treatment that could improve patient care and save lives. 

Fundamental Research, Improved Treatment

Basic Biology of Prostate Cancer

The discoveries that push treatment forward often arise from a deeper understanding of the fundamental biology of a disease. Our scientists are working to better understand prostate cancer at that fundamental level, with a particular focus on advanced, late-stage prostate cancer. They are examining how molecular changes in prostate tumors drive their development and progression. This knowledge may shed light on tumor vulnerabilities and future treatment targets. 

Our scientists have developed preclinical models to improve our understanding of basic prostate tumor biology and test potential new therapies, including immunotherapies.

Precision Oncology Strategies

Ultimately, our researchers hope to help oncologists tailor treatment to each individual patient and his tumor. Doing so requires a deeper understanding of the molecular and genetic alterations in tumors and how they influence disease development, progression and treatment response. Our scientists seek to discover new tumor vulnerabilities that point the way to more effective, targeted treatments, particularly for men with advanced, aggressive tumors.

Balancing Detection and Treatment

One of the major treatment issues facing the prostate cancer field is that of overdiagnosis. Prostate cancer is very common, and most men with the disease have slow-growing tumors that don’t require treatment. But some tumors are deadly, and patients with those tumors benefit from treatment. Ideally, oncologists would treat only those men for whom the lifesaving benefits of treatment outweigh the risks of side effects. But it’s not always clear which patients fall into which category. Our scientists seek to provide oncologists with better tools to make those distinctions.

Many Fred Hutch investigators study active surveillance, or “watchful waiting,” in which men with prostate tumors are monitored but not treated. From these studies, our scientists seek to gain information on how to determine which patients will benefit from this approach and which should be treated sooner and more aggressively.

Our scientists are also improving the translation of new diagnostics and therapeutics from the laboratory into the clinic to improve patients’ quality of life.

Risk Factors

Many factors can raise or lower a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer and perhaps even the risk of recurrence after treatment. These include diet, exercise and inherited gene variants. Our researchers are working to identify such factors and measure their impact on risk and patient outcomes. This information can help improve screening and treatment recommendations for men who are at risk or have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Active Projects

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Seattle Obesity Project

Public Health Sciences, Cancer Prevention

Based on the evidence collected through the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), researchers are evaluating the role of vitamin D in key carcinogenesis-related processes, including gene transcription, cellular differentiation, T-cell mediated immunity, cell cycle control, proliferation and apoptosis.

Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health

Contact: Jihye Yoon

Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer: Biomarkers and Genetic Variation Study

Public Health Sciences, Cancer Prevention

This study's objective is to investigate the mechanisms by which Vitamin D influences prostate cancer risk among 18,000 participants in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. Strong evidence indicates that vitamin D is involved in key carcinogenesis-related processes, including gene transcription, cellular differentiation, T-cell mediated immunity, cell cycle control, proliferation and apoptosis.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Jeannette Schenk / Diana Lowry, jschenk@fredhutch.org; dlowry@fredhutch.org

Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) Study

  • Emily White, Ph.D.
Public Health Sciences, Cancer Prevention

The VITAL study investigates the associations of supplement use with cancer risk. Investigators are specifically concerned with how vitamin C, E, calcium, multivitamins, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber related to prostate, breast, lung, colorectal, melanoma, bladder, blood/lymph cancers, as well as total cancer incidence and total mortality.

Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health

Contact: Emily White, ewhite@fredhutch.org

Latest Prostate Cancer News

SEE ALL PROSTATE CANCER NEWS
Dr. Andrew Hsieh elected member of American Society for Clinical Investigation Physician-scientist demonstrated central role protein synthesis plays in cancer February 9, 2022
Hopes and predictions for 2022 Hutch researchers look ahead to an increase in cancer screening, improved vaccines and greater trust in science December 21, 2021
Highlights of Fred Hutch science in 2021 From COVID-19 to cancer, Hutch scientists pursued new ideas to save lives December 20, 2021
Building better lab models of human tumors Dr. John Lee receives $1.5M NIH New Innovator Award for creative young scientists with high-risk, high-reward projects October 5, 2021
Last Modified, September 21, 2022