Unlike comprehensive clinical-grade genetic tests that are only available to Caucasians, assessment is available to Black men and others who disproportionately get prostate cancer
(Evanston, IL) – March 23, 2021 – NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) and GoPath Laboratories have announced a novel partnership to launch a new genetics test that assesses the inherited risk for prostate cancer using three methods: family history, rare pathogenic mutations and genetic risk score. A simple saliva or blood test can help physicians determine the most informative care plan for their patients including personalized screenings and tailored treatment strategies to optimize outcomes.
The test, which features the Genetic Risk Score developed by NorthShore, is available online at https://geneticsnow.com/prostatenow/ and addresses evidence that genetics are commonly overlooked when assessing prostate cancer risk. Patients will need a referral from a urologist or other physician. PROSTATENOW™ is covered by Medicare for qualifying patients.
While other new, clinical-grade genetic tests are available only for Caucasians, PROSTATENOWTM is available to multiple races including African American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry and can:
- Predict risk for unaffected men which helps identify men who would benefit from screening
- Predict prognosis for localized prostate cancer patients which can help choose treatments for men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer
- Predict therapeutic responses for advanced/metastatic prostate cancer patients
Studies show that inherited factors account for 57% of the risk for developing prostate cancer, higher than many other common cancers such as ovarian and breast.
“Family history, rare pathogenic mutations and genetic risk score each measure risk independently,” said Brian Helfand, MD, Division Chief of Urology and Director of the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health at NorthShore. “Combining all three tools provides the most comprehensive inherited risk assessment for patients and their families.”
“Importantly, African Americans have a higher incidence of prostate cancer than the general population, but comprehensive genetic tests have been less available to people who are not Caucasian,” continued Dr. Helfand. “We’re thrilled to offer this innovation to all our patients – including Black members of our community – who can benefit from more informed treatment plans and the potential for more targeted prostate cancer therapies.”
Evidence for the three-pronged approach was supported by a recently published study in European Urology, the leading Urology journal in the world. Using a large population-based cohort of over 200,000 men in the UK Biobank, the NorthShore research team found that men who reported a family history of prostate cancer and/or who carried a rare pathogenic gene mutation or a high genetic risk score had significantly increased risk for developing prostate cancer and dying from the disease. This is the first time that the predictive abilities of each component of a genetic assessment was able to be studied in a large cohort prospectively.
Most prostate cancer patients and their families can benefit from germline testing — recently recommended by new National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. This comprehensive germline panel is now available to practicing physicians in the U.S. to prescribe for their patients.
A 49-year old patient with pre-existing prostate cancer was recently tested and a rare pathogenic mutation associated with an increased likelihood for cancer progression was found. However, testing mutations in the gene itself are not included in NCCN guidelines. Dr. Helfand performed a radical prostatectomy to mitigate this patient’s risk.
“This is a concrete example of the usefulness of these tests for personalized medicine and the success of NorthShore’s efforts toward translational medicine. It also highlights the technology behind PROSTATENOWTM that allows it to detect mutations that would otherwise be missed,” said Dr. Helfand, who also serves as the Ronald L. Chez Family and Richard Melman Family Chair of Prostate Cancer.
PROSTATENOWTM includes all known prostate cancer susceptible genes and more than 100 prostate cancer risk associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for calculating genetic risk score in multiple races. Practicing urologists and scientists experienced with genetics at NorthShore provide guidance and education about PROSTATENOWTM and GoPath Laboratories provides the pathologists, genetic counselors, technologists and coordinators for testing.
“We are constantly researching and adding new genes to our panels as their links to prostate cancer are discovered,” said Jim Lu, MD, PhD, Founder and CEO of GoPath Laboratories. “We are excited to be working with NorthShore’s team to provide patients and their families with the most comprehensive germline panels available for prostate cancer care.”
For more information about PROSTATENOWTM, go to geneticsnow.com/prostatenow.
About NorthShore University HealthSystem
Headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, NorthShore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system that includes six hospitals—Evanston, Glenbrook, Highland Park, Skokie, Swedish and Northwest Community. NorthShore consistently ranks as a Top 15 Major Teaching Hospital in the United States, with an established reputation for exceptional patient care and is a national pioneer in the implementation of advanced health information technology. Together, the NorthShore system provides clinical excellence and community-focused care across Chicagoland. For more information, please visit NorthShore.org, SwedishCovenant.org and NCH.org.
About GoPath Laboratories
GoPath Laboratories is a state-of-the-art CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited molecular pathology diagnostic laboratory, located in north suburban of Chicago. We provide a complete solution for cancer diagnostic testing in the areas of Cancer Genetics, Immune Therapy and Cancer Recurrence Monitoring. ProstateNowTM is one of our flagship products in GeneticsNow® Series including breast cancer (BRCANow®) and colon cancer (LynchNow®) and other common cancer types. Additionally GoPath offers OncoTarget® Series providing on-demand molecular testing for latest cancer immune therapies, and Oncotracking® Series with On-Time Cancer Recurrence Monitoring. For more information, please visit geneticsnow.com and gopathlabs.com.