Healthcare: Cancer Care

Prostate Cancer Prediction


A Tool of Study From the Markers Lab at Baylor College of Medicine


Predicting Recurrence of Prostate Cancer

Physicians often use a tool called a nomogram, a predictive calculator that uses features of a patient's tumor, to predict the risk that the prostate cancer will progress. Until recently these features were limited to Gleason Score, prostate-specific antigen level, and clinical stage. These features provide a reasonable amount of information to suggest a prognosis, but two additional blood tests improve the accuracy of the nomograms. These tests measure the blood levels of "markers" TGF and IL-6 sR, which appear to be associated with the process of metastasis or cancer spread. Their elevation suggests an increased risk for developing metastatic cancer.

The usefulness of these markers has been established by four years of extensive research, and tests for these markers are now available to patients.


For Prediction Only

These tests are not screening tests for cancer. Currently, they are used for staging and for prediction of disease progression after primary therapy.

We have developed a nomogram for prostate cancer that adds blood levels of TGF-beta1 and IL-6 sR to the usual features and have found the new nomogram to be very accurate. This nomogram currently is undergoing validation at other institutions that also specialize in the treatment of prostate cancer.

We are also developing and validating nomograms incorporating these markers for our patients who have already undergone a prostatectomy, who are undergoing or contemplating radiation therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer, or who have developed recurrence after one of these therapies. In the future, these tests may help us manage patients with other cancers, such as kidney or bladder cancer.