A gene test that has already been used successfully with other cancer patients could be extended for use with prostate cancer.
Recent research published in the Lancet Oncology revealed that a genetic pattern can be applied to the disease to predict how aggressive the prostate cancer is before treatment begins.
Conducted by the University of London and funded by Cancer Research UK, the study looked at the levels of cell cycle progression genes (CPP) in men.
Those with the highest CPP levels were found to be three times more likely to have a fatal form of prostate cancer than those with the lowest levels of the gene.
Furthermore, those with the highest levels of CPP who had had surgery to remove their prostate were 70 per cent more likely to have a recurrence of the disease.
Professor Jack Cuzick, lead author and epidemiologist at the cancer charity, commented: "We already know that CCP levels can predict survival for breast and, more recently, brain and lung cancers.
"It's really encouraging that this could also be applied to prostate cancer, where we desperately need a way to predict how aggressive the disease will be."