A world-first finding from Associate Professor Zumin Shi determining the link between prostate cancer mortality and PSA velocity has been made possible thanks to the South Australian Prostate Cancer Clinical Outcome Collaborate (SA-PCCOC) database supported by Australian Prostate Cancer.
Prostate cancer can be a silent killer, as there are generally no physical signs when men develop it. One way to determine prostate cancer is through the levels of PSA, a protein produced by prostate cells in all men that needs to be regularly monitored for signs of prostate cancer from 50 onwards. A/Prof Shi is researching PSA velocity, which is the rate that PSA levels rise and decrease and if this occurs, the likelihood of mortality increases. This is why this research is so important – aiming to decrease a man’s mortality of this heartbreaking disease.
Bringing this research to life, the SA-PCCOC database provided A/Prof Shi with access to over 15 years’ worth of vital information on Australians who have suffered prostate cancer. A/Prof Shi was able to develop his study looking at the increase and decrease of PSA levels on men of all ages who’ve had external beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer (a cancer treatment option that uses doses of radiation to destroy cancerous cells and shrink tumours).
“The SA-PCCOC database was vital in my study as I was able to have access to critical information. The data I collected was over 15 years’ worth and I analysed patients’ measures of PSA levels over the first two years of them being in remission. I categorised patients into four groups based on the PSA velocity,” A/Prof Shi said.
“I completed an in-depth analysis of PSA velocity for each patient. From these measurements I was able to conclude PSA velocity rapidly declining PSA levels in patients is extremely serious and can result in prostate cancer returning and can be life-threatening.”
This exciting research is all possible thanks to the SA-PCCOC database, a vital asset that has the potential to save lives. A/Prof Shi is determined to understand what drives PSA levels from dropping and rising again and why that can cause prostate cancer returning.
“We know for sure PSA velocity affects survival but whether lifestyle factors modify the velocity nobody knows and that’s why we need more funding so we can look into that,” A/Prof Shi said.
“Hopefully my next research project will look at lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. My aim is to determine if these particular factors have any effect on PSA velocity and if they contribute to rising PSA levels,” A/Prof Shi said.
“We are trying to get funding at the moment so we can further our research in this area to ultimately save lives sooner rather than years down the track.”
With a very determined attitude, A/Prof Shi hopes to one day end prostate cancer and this is only possible through continuous research. Thank you for supporting researchers like A/Prof Shi – you’re helping to save lives.