Prostate Cancer Quick Facts | Cancer Types - NFCR

Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the number one cancer affecting American men and it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men (behind lung cancer).

Key Facts

  • 248,530 new prostate cancer cases are anticipated in the U.S. in 2021, with 34,130 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
  • The average age at the time of diagnosis is 66, with about 60% of cases occurring in men aged 65 or older.
  • Although men under the age of 40 can be diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is considered rare.
  • More than 3.1 million men in the U.S. have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are still alive today.
Source: American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2021 and the Society’s website (2021)

Signs and Symptoms

A symptom is a change in the body that a person can see and/or feel. A sign is a change that the doctor sees during an examination or on a laboratory test result. If you have any of the symptoms below, it does not mean you have cancer but you should see your doctor or health care professional so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

  • Problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often especially at night
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED)
  • Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that has spread to bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord
Source: American Cancer Society’s website (2021)

Prostate Cancer Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack prostate cancer – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Light Blue Prostate Cancer Ribbon
248530
new cases expected in 2021
34130
deaths expected in 2021
1
in 9 men diagnosed in their lifetime
James P. Basilion, Ph.D.
James P. Basilion, Ph.D.

The best chance for a cure for many cancers is complete and successful surgery. Dr. James Basilion has developed a “smart” probe that when topically applied to the cancer during surgery, lights up only cancer cells and greatly improves the surgeon’s ability to detect tumor margins in prostate, breast, colon and lung cancer. Usually, an assessment of margins is done after surgery and patients return home. The smart probe will fulfill the unmet clinical need to reduce repeat surgeries at a later time for removal of remaining cancer tissue. Use of the probe may reduce the chance of cancer spreading, and can increase the rate of a surgical cure. With support from the NFCR AIM-HI Translational Research Initiative, the probe is being optimized towards a Phase I clinical trial initially for lumpectomies to further enhance cure rates for patients with early stage breast cancer. Success with this trial will facilitate clinical use of this “smart” for patients with prostate and other cancers.

Danny R. Welch, Ph.D.
Danny R. Welch, Ph.D.

Cancer that spreads from the primary tumor (metastasis) is the major reason that cancer patients lose their battle. Dr. Danny Welch discovered that mitochondria – a specialized cell part that generates energy for our bodies – may determine why cancer metastases develop in some patients, but not in others. Differences in tumor formation, metastasis location and responses to therapy could be from our mitochondrial DNA. With continued success, this research may suggest that a simple blood test can help guide doctors in treating those patients who are susceptible to metastasis and may need more aggressive treatment. Or, such a blood test could spare patients at low risk from having to undergo some of the side effects of treatment.

Dr. Welch’s team has identified eight genes that get turned off when cancer cells become metastatic cells – known as ‘metastasis suppressor genes’. KISS1 gene was originally discovered in models of melanoma and his team determined that cells expressing KISS1 can complete all of the early steps of the metastatic process but do not form a new metastatic site. His team has shown the same results in prostate cancer models. This research can lead to unique anti-metastasis therapeutics that ‘mimic’ the ‘lost’ KISS1 protein to arrest formation of metastatic sites in prostate and other types of cancer.

Paul Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D.
Paul Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D.
Dr. Web Cavenee
Web Cavenee, Ph.D.

Dr. Paul Fisher develops gene therapies with IL/24, an immune modulator gene he previously discovered. IL/24 protein causes primary and spreading tumor cells throughout the body to commit ‘cell suicide’ but is non-toxic to healthy cells. IL/24 activates the immune system, inhibits new blood vessel formation to starve tumors of vital blood and nutrients, and sensitizes tumor cells to radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. One type of IL/24 gene therapy includes a gene that fluoresces (lights up for imaging) when IL/24 finds and destroys tumor cells for a detection- and treatment-monitoring approach (known as theranostic). Another therapy combines IL/24 with a patient’s own immune T cells (adoptive cell therapy) to supercharge the T cells to fight cancer. Together, Dr. Fisher and Dr. Web Cavenee are developing these gene therapies for prostate, breast, lung, colon, brain and other cancers.

Dr. Fisher also discovered MDA-9/ Syntenin, a gene that promotes the deadly spread (metastasis) of many cancers. He and Dr. Cavenee discovered PDZ1i, an innovative drug that blocks the gene’s signals for metastasis. PDZ1i may be effective in treating prostate and numerous metastatic cancers.

Related Content

Researchers Uncover Causal Link Between HPV and Prostate Cancer

Presence of human papilloma viruses (HPVs) in prostate tumors suggests countries should encourage universal vaccination against HPV infections. A literature review published by James Lawson and Wendy Glenn from the University of New South Wales in Australia suggests human papilloma viruses (HPVs) may have a causal role in prostate cancer. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. To learn more about prostate cancer, let’s explore the findings from this literature review and examine other risk factors associated with the disease, as well as steps that men can take to help reduce their risk. Prostate Cancer: What You Need to Know The prostate is a gland found only in males. It sits just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. When cells in the prostate begin to grow out of control, prostate cancer can develop.1  According to the American Cancer Society, approximately one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.2 A man’s age, race and ethnicity, and family history can all contribute to his risk for developing prostate cancer, with the disease most likely to affect men who are older than 65 as well as African American men or Caribbean men of African ancestry.3 Prostate cancer is often found before symptoms appear. However, if a man experiences any of the following symptoms, its recommended that you make an appointment with a trusted health care provider: Trouble urinating, such as a slow or weak urinary stream or the urge to urinate more often Blood in the urine or semen Trouble getting an erection Pain in the hips, back, chest, or other areas  Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet Loss of bladder or bowel control  Although these symptoms are often caused by conditions other than prostate cancer, it is important to speak with your health care provider to determine the specific cause of your symptoms.4 Prostate Cancer and HPV: What the Research Tells Us In their literature review, which was published in Infectious Agents and Cancer in July, Lawson and Glenn examined the results of 26 studies conducted between 1980-2020 that looked at HPVs and their links to prostate cancer.  Eight of the 26 studies examined indicated that the prevalence of high risk HPV DNA was significantly higher in prostate cancers compared to normal and benign prostate controls. Furthermore, the more recent studies analyzed — those conducted after the year 2000 — showed that 231 of 1,071 prostate cancers (nearly 22 percent) were HPV positive.5 Lawson and Glenn also found that high risk HPV types 16 and 18, which are known to cause cervical cancer in women and can be prevented by the HPV vaccine, were identified in normal, benign, and malignant prostate tissues.5 Although HPV was previously known to cause other, rare cancers in men, its causal role in prostate cancer — which is expected to cause more than 33,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2020 — greatly expands the repercussions associated with contracting the virus.2 However, while more research is needed to understand the exact mechanisms for how HPV infection might lead to prostate cancer, the authors assert that the evidence compiled in […]

Home Urine Test for Prostate Cancer Developed

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: Signs, Symptoms and Treatments

Prostate cancer is, after skin cancer, the most common cancer among men and the second biggest cancer killer for men in the United States. It’s typically an older man’s cancer with approximately 60 percent diagnoses in men over 65, with the average age being 66. As cancers go, prostate cancer has one of the better prognosis: the five-year survival rate for most men with local or regional prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent. However, for men diagnosed with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, that number falls to 30 percent. An estimated 174,650 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and for reasons still to be discovered, the risk of prostate cancer is about 60 percent higher in African-American men than in white men. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and it is worth noting several advances in the field. New drugs, therapies, tests and techniques hold much promise in catching the cancer in its early stages, and in treatment if it has advanced. Testing Researchers in both the United States and United Kingdom developed two new urine tests for aggressive prostate cancer, promising a tool that is both more accurate than the current blood test and less invasive than a biopsy. Investigators at the University of East Anglia in the UK developed a urine test to diagnose aggressive prostate cancer and predict whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods. It is hoped this new tool can help avoid biopsies and other invasive procedures for low-risk patients. Independently, researchers at UCLA were able to identify a biomarker using microRNA naturally sloughed off from the prostate in urine, which may give insight into tumor development, stage, and possible treatments. Another test involving RNA comes from the University of Virginia; researchers identified a type of RNA key to controlling the growth and progression of prostate cancer. Dubbed HULLK, this RNA is regulated by androgens (male sex hormones) that stimulate its production. Cells that overproduce HULLK, that is, those associated with the most aggressive cases of prostate cancer, are hypersensitive to androgens, the researchers found. Also discovered was that there is more HULLK in tumor samples from patients with advanced prostate cancer. Investigators found that decreasing the level of HULLK in cultured prostate cancer cells slows tumor cell growth. Warnings Discovering what not to do is an important part of medicine, and a study out of Philadelphia found an ominous link between a popular prostate cancer therapy and mental health. Because prostate cancer is fueled by androgens, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is a standard treatment. Doctors in Philadelphia found  ADT could have links to both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Of the 154,089 ADT patients observed, 13 percent were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and 22 percent with dementia. Therapies Metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) remains a deadly disease. Anaheim investigators combined targeted radionuclide therapy 177Lu PSMA 617 with the tumor-specific radiation sensitizer idronoxil to assess responses in patients with heavily treated mCRPC; in doing so they found nearly 70 percent of all patients saw a more than […]