Junior Clinical Cooperation Unit Multiparametric methods for early detection of prostate cancer
PD Dr. Magdalena Görtz
Our clinical cooperation unit at the DKFZ and University Hospital Heidelberg aims at developing more individualized approaches for prostate cancer diagnostics and therapy planning. Prostate cancer is characterized by a considerable heterogeneity of aggressiveness and disease progression. In case of suspicious examination findings, MRI imaging and histological securing of the prostate are indicated. However, with the current means for early detection of prostate cancer, not only aggressive but also indolent prostate cancer are diagnosed, which would not result in increased morbidity or mortality.
In our group, we prospectively and systematically compile clinical, laboratory-chemical, radiological, molecular biological and histopathological data for the development of new diagnostic strategies for prostate cancer. Integrated patient data allows to investigate new analytical methods and their prognostic significance, among others parameter extraction, deep neural networks and machine learning. There is an urgent need for new molecular markers to improve diagnostics and risk stratification of prostate cancer. Among others, we investigate predictive biomarkers in form of epigenetic modifications in the circulating cell-free DNA of liquid biopsy samples from prostate cancer patients.
An integrative early detection and risk stratification strategy that combines molecular markers with imaging has the potential to optimize non-invasive diagnostics, to develop more precise prediction models and to allow correlations with tumour aggressiveness. The aim of our clinical cooperation unit is to identify new biomarkers and diagnostic models with predictive and prognostic relevance for the presence and aggressiveness of prostate cancer. In the future, more individualized approaches for the diagnostics and therapy planning of patients with prostate cancer are to be developed.