Prostate Cancer Awareness in the Time of COVID

Alicia Morgans | September 01, 2020

As the world continues to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), prostate cancer awareness may seem like something that could be forgotten this year.  Just today in the state where I live, Illinois, we learned of 1,880 new cases of coronavirus yesterday, with over 180,000 deaths in the United States (US) since the pandemic started. Our normal lives have been disrupted, with restaurants and gyms open only with significant restrictions, and church services limited in number or only held online. 


Alicia Morgans, MD

Alicia Morgans, MD, MPH Genitourinary Medical Oncologist, Medical Director of Survivorship Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. She is a clinician and physician investigator specializing in investigating complications of systemic therapy for prostate cancer survivors. She has expertise in clinical trials and patient-reported outcome measures, and as well as incorporating patient preferences and beliefs into clinical decision making.

Clinical Conversations by Experts
Physician-Scientist Review Articles
State of the Evidence Review Articles
Written by Christopher J.D. Wallis, MD, PhD and Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc
August 31, 2020
The rapid spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has dramatically reshaped the structure of Western society, including on health care delivery.
Written by Christopher J.D. Wallis, MD, PhD and Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc
July 2, 2020
Prostate cancer is a clinically heterogeneous disease with many patients having an indolent course requiring no interventions and others who either present with or progress to metastasis. While underlying dominant driving mutations are not widespread, there have been a number of key genomic mutations that have been consistently identified in prostate cancer patients,
Written by Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc and Christopher J.D. Wallis, MD, PhD
May 14, 2020
The coronavirus has the potential to impact the integrity and patient safety of ongoing trials as well as increase the operational burden on trial programs, therefore potentially limiting access to trials and new therapies for oncology patients. Opportunities for clinical trial enrollment may still be provided to patients during the COVID-19 outbreak, but likely require thorough evaluation on a case-by-case basis.
Written by Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc and Christopher J.D. Wallis, MD, PhD
December 10, 2019

Despite prostate cancer (PCa) being the second most common cause of cancer mortality among American men,1 there are 2.9 million men in the United States living with PCa. As such, there are many “PCa survivors” that are either on active surveillance (AS)/watchful waiting (WW) or have undergone treatment for localized (ie. radiation therapy (RT), radical prostatectomy (RP), focal therapy, etc) or advanced disease. 

Written by Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc
December 18, 2019

Understanding and elucidating the underlying genetic basis of carcinogenesis has been the holy grail for cancer researchers, for both the scientific understanding of disease pathophysiology and potential therapeutic implications. Perhaps the best example of the therapeutic implications of understanding carcinogenesis come from chronic myeloid leukemia where the identification of the “Philadelphia chromosome”;

Written by Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc
November 15, 2019
Despite the exciting advances in treatment over the last decade for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), the disease remains incurable with a median overall survival of 12-35 months.1-4 Targeting the immune system to expand treatment options in the advanced disease state has resulted in significant improvements
Written by Hanan Goldberg, MD
December 10, 2019
In 2018 1.3 million prostate cancer (PCa) cases were diagnosed worldwide, with approximately 20% having metastatic disease.1 Oligometastatic PCa is defined as a state of low-volume metastatic disease that appears to be prognostically different and likely amenable to different treatment options, which could potentially change the disease trajectory when compared with high-volume metastatic disease.2
Written by Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc
April 16, 2019
In 2018 in the United States, there will be an estimated 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer (19% of all male cancer incident cases, 1st) and an estimated 29,430 prostate cancer mortalities (9% of all male cancer deaths, 2nd only to lung/bronchus cancer).1 Over the last four decades, there was a spike
Written by Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc
April 16, 2019
The discovery of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the late 1970s and its widespread application and adoption in the 1980s and 1990s ushered in the prostate cancer screening and disease monitoring era. As the first tumor marker for prostate cancer, it is organ specific but not cancer specific.1
Written by Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc
April 16, 2019
Secondary to the introduction of prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening in the 1980’s/1990’s, symptomatic presentation of prostate cancer has become less frequent. Symptoms of locally advanced prostate cancer may include obstructive urinary symptoms, gross hematuria, and/or upper tract urinary obstruction leading to renal failure.
Written by Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc
April 16, 2019
Over the last decade, imaging for prostate cancer has improved immensely. Specifically, prostate multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) has improved primarily as a result of an increase in magnet strength from 1 to 3-tesla. mpMRI consists of anatomic and functional imaging techniques:
Conference Coverage
Conference Highlights Written by Physician-Scientist
Presented by William Thomas Lowrance, MD, MPH, MBA
In this plenary session, Dr. William Thomas Lowrance summarized the 2021 AUA/ASTRO/SUO guidelines on advanced prostate cancer, with key take-home points highlighted. The full 2 part guidelines1,2 can be found online at They are also published in the Journal of Urology.
Presented by Stephen A. Boorjian, MD
The Society of Urologic Oncology held an associated session at the American Urologic Association Virtual Annual Meeting entitled “The Evolving Landscape of Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatment: A Guidelines and Case-Based Discussion.” Dr. Stephen Boorjian began this session with a talk focusing on the identification of patients with high-risk prostate cancer and the initial management of those with biochemical recurrence following therapy.
Presented by Michael Cookson, MD, MMHC
As the therapeutic landscape evolves to include increasingly complex combinations of systemic therapies with or without local therapies, advances in imaging, and germline and somatic testing, treating men with advanced prostate cancer is increasingly one that must embrace multidisciplinary management approaches.
Presented by Neal D. Shore, MD, FACS, and Ashley Evan Ross MD, PhD
During the second prostate cancer session at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO), Drs. Neal Shore and Ashley Evan Ross debated the use of relugolix as a new standard of care for androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Presented by Reham Alghandour, PhD
Metformin is a biguanide agent which is commonly used in the first-line treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes. For many years, there has been an interest in its potential anti-cancer properties, particularly in prostate cancer.
Presented by William T. Lowrance, MD, MPH
The AUA 2020 virtual annual meeting was highlighted by an update on the AUA guidelines for advanced prostate cancer, presented by Dr. William Lowrance and Dr. Michael Cookson. Dr. Lowrance notes that this guideline was produced by a multidisciplinary panel with representation from the AUA, ASCO, ASTRO, and SUO was well as a patient advocate.
Presented by Elena Castro, MD, PhD
San Francisco, CA ( In this talk, Dr. Elena Castro gave an overview of the genomic landscape of advanced prostate cancer. It has been shown that in over 70%
Presented by Samuel Denmeade
Washington, DC ( As part of the SUO 2019 advanced prostate cancer session, Dr. Samuel Denmeade discussed his work with bipolar androgen therapy (BAT)
Presented by Samuel Denmeade, MD
Washington, DC (  Since Huggins’ noble prize-winning work on the role of androgens in prostate cancer progression in 1940, hormonal suppression has been the mainstay
Presented by Kelly Stratton, MD
Athens, Greece ( Dr. Kelly Stratton gave an overview of the role of surgery in advanced prostate cancer. Advanced prostate cancer 
Presented by Derya Tilki, MD
Athens, Greece ( Dr. Derya Tilki was the first to present at the Educating Masterclass on Biochemical Recurrence after Radical Prostatectomy.
Presented by Karim Fizazi, MD, PhD
Barcelona, Spain ( At the Friday session at the 2019 European Society for Medical Oncology annual meeting (ESMO) meeting on prostate cancer, Karim Fizazi
Presented by Maria J. Ribal, MD
Barcelona, Spain ( Dr. Maria Ribal from Barcelona started the urogenital cancer treatment at a glance session by giving an overview of challenging paradigms in advanced prostate cancer. Dr. Ribal notes that not only is the incidence of prostate cancer the highest among male malignancies,
Presented by Himisha Beltran, MD
San Francisco, CA ( Dr. Misha Beltran presented a summary of the biologic basis for sequencing novel treatments for metastatic prostate cancer.  There is an increasing need for biomarkers in advanced prostate cancer management
Presented by Srikala S. Sridhar, MD, FRCPC, Alberto Briganti, MD, PhD, and Heather Ann Payne, MBBS, FRCP, FRCR
San Francisco, CA ( During the general session on optimizing diagnosis and treatment of clinically significant nonmetastatic prostate cancer at the Annual ASCO GU 2019 meeting
Presented by Kim Chi, MD
Phoenix, Arizona ( The LATITUDE study, published in July 2017, was a phase III randomized, clinical trial that evaluated the efficacy of abiraterone 
Presented by Laurence Klotz, MD
Tel-Aviv, Israel ( Laurence Klotz, MD gave a presentation on intermittent androgen deprivation therapy (IADT) and its association with cardiovascular disease (CVD). He began stating the many advantages of intermittent androgen deprivation therapy.
Presented by Jehonathan Pinthus, MD
Tel-Aviv, Israel ( Jehonathan Pinthus, MD presented the RADICAL PC trial and elaborated on the correlation of prostate cancer (PC) to cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is known that PC patients are at risk for CVD. Patients are deemed to be high-risk if they have a global risk estimate for severe CVD events with a rate of more than 2% per year.
Presented by Silke Gillessen, MD
Copenhagen, Denmark (  Dr. Sommer gave an overview of the complications associated with the treatment for advanced prostate cancer. The first topic discussed was the acute side effects of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). These include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, and fatigue.
Presented by Karim Fizazi, MD, PhD
Chicago, IL ( Dr. Karim Fizazi and colleagues presented their much-anticipated results from the LATITUDE trial at the 2017 ASCO annual meeting’s plenary session. In a phase III, double-blind, randomized setting, LATITUDE tested androgen deprivation therapy 
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