Dr. Burgess on Understanding Molecular Subtypes of Prostate Cancer

Earle Burgess, MD

Earle Burgess, MD, associate professor of medicine, Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health, discusses the importance of understanding the molecular subtypes of prostate cancer.

When patients are first diagnosed with prostate cancer, physicians try to learn as much molecular information about the patient’s specific tumor as they can—sometimes even germline status, Burgess says. Profiling patients based on these molecular factors better allows clinicians to match them with effective therapy. For example, patients with certain defects in DNA mismatch repair have a better likelihood of benefitting from treatment with PARP inhibitors. The rare subset of patients with tumors expressing microsatellite instability high and DNA mismatch repair deficiency can derive benefit from immunotherapy, Burgess notes.

He concludes that it is important for researchers understand the underlying molecular defects that may drive treatment early in the course of a patient’s disease; this ultimately affects the sequencing of agents that will be used in the present and future.
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