A study looking in detail at prostate cancer genes (PROGENY)

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Cancer type:

Prostate cancer





This study was done to find out more about the genes in prostate cancer cells.

More about this trial

The research team took a number of samples (biopsies) of prostate cancer. They compared the samples to look for differences in the genes and proteins in the cells.

The aims of this study were to try and find out more about:

  • how prostate cancer develops
  • why some cancers spread and others don’t
  • why some prostate cancers respond to treatment and others don’t

Summary of results

The research team were able to look at the genes and proteins in prostate cancer cells. 

They recruited men between 2013 and 2015, and published the results in 2017.

The research team recruited 25 men who had prostate cancer but had not had any treatment yet. Of those taking part:

  • 12 had cancer that had spread to another part of the body
  • 13 had cancer that was contained within the prostate (localised cancer) but there was a high risk that it would spread

The research team looked at a total of 79 samples of cancer from the 25 men taking part. They analysed various genes and proteins within the cells.

Genes are codes inside our cells. Each gene tells the cell to make a specific protein. Sometimes there are mistakes in the genetic code, so the cell doesn’t behave as it should.

The team looked at two types of genetic changes in the cancer cells.

The first is where one part of a gene is repeated by mistake. This is called a copy number alteration. They found that there were more of this type of change in men who had cancer that had spread, compared to those with localised cancer.

The second type of genetic change is when a small part of the gene is missing or changed. This is called nucleotide variation. They found there was no difference in the amount of this type of change in men who had cancer that had spread, compared to those with localised cancer.

They also looked at signalling from one cell and another, and the amount of certain immune system proteins that are involved with the signal pathways. They found that some prostate cancer cells had normal levels of these proteins, and some had high levels. They suggest more work is done to find out more about the link between this signalling pathway and prostate cancer.

The research team concluded that they found some genetic changes that may be significant in the development of prostate cancer. They suggest that more work is done to find out if any of these factors could be used in the diagnosis or treatment of prostate cancer in the future.

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Mr Hashim Ahmed

Supported by

NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Prostate Cancer Foundation
University College London (UCL)

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Keith took part in a trial looking into hormone therapy

A picture of Keith

"Health wise I am feeling great. I am a big supporter of trials - it allows new treatments and drugs to be brought in.”

Last reviewed:

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