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Prostate cancer

Approximately 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime1

Prostate cancer is a major public health concern. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed and second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men.1 The 5-year survival rate across all stages is 98%, and is greater than 99% when cancer has not metastasized.2


More is learned about prostate cancer every day

A prostate cancer diagnosis requires a systematic biopsy of tissue. This process traditionally utilizes imaging to guide the insertion of a needle into the prostate gland to collect samples which are then analyzed by a pathologist.

By far, the predominant type of prostate cancer is adenocarcinoma.2 When detected early, it can often be effectively treated using surgery or radiation therapy (RT), with or without hormone therapy. Advanced disease and less common types of prostate cancer may be more challenging to treat.3 Research into the molecular genetics of the disease offers important distinctions between these types of prostate cancer.

Roche is committed to helping identify the best possible treatment for each patient by accurately identifying the type of cancer and the likely course of the illness

Our commitment to prostate cancer includes a wide menu of immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays that enable pathology labs to deliver accurate results with confidence. With this knowledge, doctors can identify more patients for the right therapy at the right time.

Understanding prostate cancer subtypes


Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas. These cancers develop from the gland cells (the cells that make the prostate fluid that is added to the semen).

Small-cell carcinoma4

Small-cell carcinoma (SCC) of the prostate is very rare, yet is one of the most aggressive malignancies of the prostate. It is a clinically distinct disease and generally associated with a very poor prognosis.

Neuroendocrine tumors (other than SCCs)5

Neuroendocrine prostate cancer is an aggressive variant of prostate cancer that may arise de novo or in patients previously treated with hormonal therapies for prostate adenocarcinoma as a mechanism of resistance.

Transitional cell carcinoma6

Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the prostate is carcinoma of urothelial origin and involving prostatic tissue. Over 90% of cases are associated with bladder cancer.


Primary prostate sarcomas are rare, estimated to comprise just 0.7% of prostatic malignancies. It commonly originates from specialized hormone-dependent mesenchymal cells of the prostatic stroma and has a diverse histological pattern.

Prostate cancer data




Early detection and innovation, including biomarker testing and treatments, have improved the outlook for prostate cancer patients.

Prostate cancer research points to more exact diagnoses

Awareness of genes and chromosomal regions found to be associated with prostate cancer is expanding rapidly. The development of biomarkers and improved imaging technology enables more nuanced risk stratification that builds on traditionally relied on serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA), Gleason grading, and clinical stage to classify localized cancers as low, intermediate, or high risk.9

Biomarker advances have the potential to estimate the likelihood of a disease characteristic being present or absent, more accurately determine prognosis, or provide the probability of response to a specific treatment.9 Such advances are impacting care today. For example, a new test has been developed that looks for abnormal gene change called TMPRSS2:ERG in prostate cells.10


A look toward more options, personalized treatments

Building on the understanding of genes and chromosomal regions found to be associated with prostate cancer, research continues on all fronts to better inform treatment decisions and potentially improve quality of care. 

New imaging techniques to improve the diagnosis of recurrent prostate cancer are being tested that look for a prostate-specific protein, which may allow the detection of tiny deposits of prostate cancer that are too small to be seen with current techniques.3

Drug trials are underway in men with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), a form of cancer which became resistant to standard hormone therapy. Vaccines and immunotherapies, including checkpoint inhibitors, are being studied to enhance the ability of the immune system to be more effective at killing cancer cells.Targeted therapies with high selectivity for certain mutations and cell targets, including poly-adenosine diphosphate ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies, are now being explored in clinical trials.10

Explore our proven prostate cancer portfolio

Roche offers a portfolio of products that delivers the high sensitivity and specificity needed, while reducing the time-to-result and resources required with manual or semi-automated solutions. Explore our comprehensive menu of gold-standard, peer reviewed clones.

Learn more


  1. American Cancer Society. Key statistics for prostate cancer: how common is prostate cancer? Accessed September 9, 2021.
  2. American Cancer Society. What is prostate cancer? Accessed August 13, 2021.
  3. National Cancer Institute. Advances in prostate cancer research. Accessed September 9, 2021.
  4. Nadal R, Schweizer M, Kryvenko ON, et al. Small cell carcinoma of the prostate. Nat Rev Urol. 2014;11(4):213–219.
  5. Conteduca V, Oromendia C, Eng KW, et al. Clinical features of neuroendocrine prostate cancer. Eur J Cancer. 2019;121:7-18.
  6. Shen S. Pathology of transitional cell prostate carcinoma. Accessed August 12, 2021.
  7. Hicks N, Gurung PMS, Deshmukh N, et al. Primary prostate sarcoma: how to manage following diagnosis at transurethral resection. J Surg Case Rep. 2016;5:1-3.
  8. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2019. American Cancer Society; 2019.
  9. Eggener SC, Rumble RB, Armstrong AJ, et al. Molecular biomarkers in localized prostate cancer: ASCO guideline. J Clin Oncol. 2019;38:1474-1494.
  10. American Cancer Society. What's new in prostate cancer research? Accessed September 9, 2021.
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