A Subtype of Prostate Cancer Identified Along with A Possible Therapy

A newly identified subtype of prostate cancer characterized by the loss of the gene CDK12 was found to be more common in metastatic prostate cancer compared to non-metastatic disease according to a study published in the journal Cell. This subtype has a high occurrence rate of about seven percent of men with advanced prostate cancer having this genetic loss as opposed to just one percent of men with local prostate cancer.   

What makes this discovery very important is that prostate cancer with the inactivation or loss of the CDK12 gene seems to be responsive to the immune therapy known as checkpoint inhibitors. 

If you have metastatic prostate cancer, and it shows a loss of the CDK12 gene you should discuss with your doctor the use of a checkpoint inhibitor as a part of your treatment protocol.  Perhaps, even those men with localized prostate cancer who have this loss should also consider the potential value of using a checkpoint inhibitor.

Given that this is a single study we should expect to see some new clinical trials soon evaluating checkpoint inhibitors as a treatment of metastatic prostate cancer with a CDK12 loss.


Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW wrote this Post.  Joel is the CEO/Executive Director of Cancer ABCs.  He is a Cancer Thriver diagnosed with five primary cancers - Thyroid, Metastatic Prostate, Renal, Melanoma, and the rare cancer Appendiceal cancer.