Maha Hussain, M.D., is the principal investigator for the ongoing study.

Targeted Treatment

New clinical trial tests targeted genetic prostate cancer treatment

issue 19 | Fall 2013

A new randomized phase 2 clinical trial will test whether targeting treatments to a genetic anomaly can lead to more successful treatment for prostate cancer. The trial, led by investigators at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, is being conducted at 12 sites throughout the country. The trial is focused on patients with castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer.

Patients must undergo a biopsy of a metastatic site as the first step in participating, so researchers can test the tumor for the TMPRSS2:ERG gene fusion, a genetic anomaly in which two genes fuse together to create a hybrid gene. This fusion, which occurs in more than half of all prostate cancers, is believed to cause the cancer.

Trial participants will be stratified based on their gene fusion status. All participants will receive the standard hormone-based therapy abiraterone.

Each group — gene-fusion-positive and gene-fusion-negative — will then be randomized so half of participants will also take an experimental PARP-1 targeted therapy called ABT-888, in addition to abiraterone.

"We hope this study will help us understand why certain patients respond to therapy and certain patients do not," says the study's principal investigator, Maha Hussain, M.D., professor of Internal Medicine and Urology, and associate director of Clinical Research at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Learn about the new High-Risk Prostate Cancer Clinic at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.