VA Precision Oncology Program for Cancer of the Prostate (POPCaP)
Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, a walnut-sized gland that sits at the base of the bladder and is part of the male reproductive system. About one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. Veterans, making up 30% of new cancer diagnoses in the VA.
In 2016, VA Research partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to establish the Precision Oncology Program for Cancer of the Prostate (POPCaP). The program uses genetic information to tailor individualized treatments for Veterans with advanced prostate cancer. Components of POPCaP include access to genetic testing and counseling, prostate cancer clinical trials, and FDA-approved drugs targeted to specific cancer mutations.
In support of the POPCaP program, VA launched the PATCH initiative—Prostate Cancer Analysis for Therapy Choice. This effort will increase the number of VHA facilities involved in prostate cancer clinical trials, increase Veteran participation in precision medicine studies, and grow the number of physicians providing care for prostate cancer patients and conducting prostate cancer research.
STARPORT clinical trial
Eighty-five percent of men with prostate cancer have disease contained within the prostate gland itself. However, 20% of Veterans who undergo local therapy (radiation or surgery) will see their cancer return and spread outside the prostate.
Scientists now understand that prostate cancer can spread beyond the prostate itself, yet not disperse widely throughout the body. Evidence suggests that adding radiation or surgery that targets areas of cancer spread to standard systemic treatment (SST) for prostate cancer may be an effective treatment.
The STARPORT clinical trial (STAndard Systemic TheRapy With or Without PET-directed Local Therapy for OligoRecurrenT Prostate Cancer) is examining the benefits of local cancer therapy combined with SST to treat prostate cancer with limited spread. Researchers want to find out if this combination improves disease control compared to SST alone in Veterans with recurrent prostate cancer.