New scientific findings on prognosis markers of prostate cancer
The German Urology Society (DGU) awarded the Workgroup Prize for Urology Research (AuF) for the year 2018 to Dr Anne Offermann. Dr Offermann is from the Institute for Pathology at our Universität zu Lübeck on the Lübeck Campus of the University Medical Centre of Schleswig-Holstein, and the Borstel Research Centre. She was honoured for her outstanding presentation on the project, “PSMA Expression on Prostate Biopsies as an Independent Prognosis Marker of Initial Diagnosis,” during the 10th Urology Research Symposium by DGU, held from 6–8 December 2018 in Mainz.
The findings of this work establish the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), expressed on the surface of cancerous prostate cells, as a prognosis biomarker of local prostate carcinoma. For the first time ever, it was shown that it is possible for pathologists to determine the PSMA expression on a patient’s tumour cells at the time of diagnosis, to assess the risk of disease progression.
Independent of previously determined prognosis factors like the level of PSA (prostate antigen) in the blood, a high level of PSMA expression on tumour cells indicates a high risk of disease recidivism following an operation. It should be pointed out that by determining PSMA expression on tumour cells before commencing treatment, one could advance customised treatment of patients.
This is one of several projects on prostate carcinomas, under the joint research programme of the Institute for Pathology (Prof. Sven Perner, Prof. Jutta Kirfel and Dr Anne Offermann) and the Department of Urology (Prof. Axel Merseburger, Dr Marie Christine Hupe) in Lübeck.
This joint effort aims to develop prognostic and predictive biomarkers to further individualised treatments for patients with prostate carcinoma, and to research new ways to attack metastasised, castration-resistant prostate carcinomas. The latter refers to genetic and molecular biology structures in cancerous prostate cells, whose characterisation is the focus of many joint research projects.
Dr Offermann and Dr Hupe will receive funding for juniors from our Universität zu Lübeck.