British Doctors Develop Personalized Web Tools to Aid in Diagnosis and Treatment
A team of doctors and researchers from Great Britain have developed a suite of web tools that aid in providing personalized diagnosis and treatment options for men with prostate cancer.
The PREDICT Prostate Tool
A diverse team of medical professionals from Cambridge University has developed a predictive modeling system to help determine the overall prognosis for prostate cancer patients in the UK. The new PREDICT Prostate system, a web-based tool, combines a number of different variables together to provide valuable feedback, including the likelihood that different treatment methods may have an impact on long-term survivability.
The researchers published their methodology and findings in developing the tool in a scientific paper appearing in PLOS Medicine in early March of 2019. Data from the United Kingdom National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) detailing the treatment of more than 10,000 British men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2000 and 2010 was used in building the predictive model, providing a wide range of information to fine-tune its accuracy.
Why Better Prediction is Important
The PREDICT Prostate tool manages to accomplish something quite important — narrowing down the uncertainty when it comes to the types of treatment men diagnosed with prostate cancer may need. With current predictive methods only accurate 60 percent and 70 percent of the time, the result is that prostate cancer patients often end up undergoing treatments that turn out to be unnecessary and irrelevant when it comes to their overall survivability, running up medical costs and exposing patients to side effects needlessly.
PREDICT Prostate changes this by offering a much more accurate model of what a patient’s prognosis would be by comparing data like patient age, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, biopsy results, and other variables to the records in its database. The researchers involved in PREDICT Prostate’s development are confident that using the system will result in fewer instances of unnecessary over-treatment.
The tool does have some limitations, though. It’s not meant for self-service but should be used in conjunction with a physician. Additionally, it’s most appropriate for moderate to low-risk prostate cancers and offers little accuracy when it comes to more aggressive prostate tumors. Still, PREDICT Prostate has the potential to lead to much better treatment options for a number of prostate cancer patients, both in the UK and beyond.