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Prostate Cancer Translational Research

Research Overview 

Translational research takes important findings from the laboratory to the clinic and back to the laboratory, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care.

Duke Urology translational teams are committed to discovering and improving upon therapies and outcomes for men with prostate cancer.

The Polascik research group is focused on the following areas of investigation related to prostate cancer:

  • The development and integration of prostate imaging and image-guided focal therapy for early stage prostate cancer
  • Improving prostate cancer outcomes including cancer control, potency and continence using minimally invasive therapies such as cryosurgery and low energy direct current

To further their research, the group has formed intramural multidisciplinary research groups for prostate imaging/therapy through the Duke Cancer Institute involving urologic oncology, radiology, genitourinary pathology, biomedical engineering, and medical oncology.

Learn about clinical prostate cancer research in the Polascik lab.

Translational Research Initiatives

Current research initiatives include:

  1. Development of a new imaging modality—acoustic radiation force impulse—a type of ultrasonography that uses tissue stiffness to characterize cancerous regions within the prostate. We have an ongoing R-01 National Institutes of Health grant to study and develop this technology, which we hope will one day guide prostate biopsy and treatment to focal cancer lesions.
  2. Development of adjunct agents to increase cellular kill using cryosurgery. At present, we have a mutual collaboration with a basic science in-vitro laboratory regarding the use of vitamin D as the adjunct in an in-vitro and in-vivo model.
  3. Studying low energy direct current as a means to target and ablate prostate cancer while preserving erection in the canine model.
  4. Development of an animal model to study the effect of prostate cancer treatment on erectile function.

Contact Information

Lab Director

Thomas Polascik
Professor of Surgery

Duke University Medical Center
Box 2804
Durham, NC 27710

Phone: 919-684-4946
Fax: 919-684-5220

Representative Publications

Demark-Wahnefried W, George SL, Switzer BR, Snyder DC, Madden JF, Polascik TJ, Ruffin MT 4th, Vollmer RT. Overcoming challenges in designing and implementing a phase II randomized controlled trial using a presurgical model to test a dietary intervention in prostate cancer. Clin Trials. 2008;5(3):262-72. Abstract

Demark-Wahnefried W, Polascik TJ, George SL, Switzer BR, Madden JF, Ruffin MT 4th, Snyder DC, Owzar K, Hars V, Albala DM, Walther PJ, Robertson CN, Moul JW, Dunn BK, Brenner D, Minasian L, Stella P, Vollmer RT. Flaxseed supplementation (not dietary fat restriction) reduces prostate cancer proliferation rates in men presurgery. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Dec;17(12):3577-87. Abstract

Habib AS, White WD, El Gasim MA, Saleh G, Polascik TJ, Moul JW, Gan TJ. Transdermal nicotine for analgesia after radical retropubic prostatectomy. Anesth Analg. 2008 Sep;107(3):999-1004. Abstract

Isariyawongse BK, Sun L, Bañez LL, Robertson C, Polascik TJ, Maloney K, Donatucci C, Albala D, Mouraviev V, Madden JF, Moul JW. Significant discrepancies between diagnostic and pathologic Gleason sums in prostate cancer: the predictive role of age and prostate-specific antigen. Urology. 2008 Oct;72(4):882-6. Abstract

Koontz BF, Mouraviev V, Johnson JL, Mayes J, Chen SH, Wong TZ, Anscher MS, Sun L, Moul J, Polascik TJ. Use of local (111)in-capromab pendetide scan results to predict outcome after salvage radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Jun 1;71(2):358-61. Abstract

Mayes JM, Mouraviev V, Polascik TJ. Impact of a cryotherapy training workshop on the adoption and utilization of cryotherapy in the community setting. Can J Urol. 2008 Aug;15(4):4147-52. Abstract

Megwalu II, Ferguson GG, Wei JT, Mouraviev V, Polascik TJ, Taneja S, Black L, Andriole GL, Kibel AS. Evaluation of a novel precision template-guided biopsy system for detecting prostate cancer. BJU Int. 2008 Aug 5;102(5):546-50. Abstract

Mouraviev V, Broadwater G, Sun L, Mayes JM, Moul JW, Polascik TJ. Can prostate-specific antigen and prostate-specific antigen velocity be used for prostate cancer screening in men older than 70 years? Urology. 2008 Jun;71(6):1020-3. Abstract

Polascik TJ, Mayes JM, Mouraviev V. From whole-gland to targeted cryoablation for the treatment of unilateral or focal prostate cancer. Oncology (Williston Park). 2008 Jul;22(8):900-6; discussion 906-7, 914. Abstract

Polascik TJ, Mayes JM, Sun L, Madden JF, Moul JW, Mouraviev V. Pathologic stage T2a and T2b prostate cancer in the recent prostate-specific antigen era: implications for unilateral ablative therapy. Prostate. 2008 Sep 15;68(13):1380-6. Abstract

Polascik TJ, Mouraviev V. Focal therapy for prostate cancer. Curr Opin Urol. 2008 May;18(3):269-74. Abstract

Polascik TJ, Mouraviev V. Zoledronic acid in the management of metastatic bone disease. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 Feb;4(1):261-8. Abstract

Polascik TJ. Bone health in prostate cancer patients receiving androgen-deprivation therapy: the role of bisphosphonates. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2008;11(1):13-9. Abstract

Schroeck FR, Donatucci CF, Smathers EC, Sun L, Albala DM, Polascik TJ, Moul JW, Krupski TL. Defining potency: a comparison of the International Index of Erectile Function short version and the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite. Cancer. 2008 Nov 15;113(10):2687-94. Abstract

Schroeck FR, Krupski TL, Sun L, Albala DM, Price MM, Polascik TJ, Robertson CN, Tewari AK, Moul JW. Satisfaction and regret after open retropubic or robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Eur Urol. 2008 Oct;54(4):785-93. Abstract

Schroeck FR, Sun L, Freedland SJ, Albala DM, Mouraviev V, Polascik TJ, Moul JW. Comparison of prostate-specific antigen recurrence-free survival in a contemporary cohort of patients undergoing either radical retropubic or robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. BJU Int. 2008 Jul;102(1):28-32. Abstract

Chen SH, Mouraviev V, Mayes JM, Polascik TJ. Prostatic abscess as a delayed complication following cryosurgery for primary prostate cancer. Can J Urol. 2007 Aug;14(4):3646-8. Abstract

Chen SH, Mouraviev V, Raj GV, Marguet CG, Polascik TJ. Ureteropelvic junction obliteration resulting in nephrectomy after radiofrequency ablation of small renal cell carcinoma. Urology. 2007 May;69(5):982.e3-5. Abstract

Marguet C, Raj GV, Brashears JH, Anscher MS, Ludwig K, Mouraviev V, Robertson CN, Polascik TJ. Rectourethral fistula after combination radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Urology. 2007 May;69(5):898-901. Abstract

Moul JW, Sun L, Hotaling JM, Fitzsimons NJ, Polascik TJ, Robertson CN, Dahm P, Anscher MS, Mouraviev V, Pappas PA, Albala DM. Age adjusted prostate specific antigen and prostate specific antigen velocity cut points in prostate cancer screening. J Urol. 2007 Feb;177(2):499-503; discussion 503-4. Abstract

Mouraviev V, Mayes JM, Madden JF, Sun L, Polascik TJ. Analysis of laterality and percentage of tumor involvement in 1386 prostatectomized specimens for selection of unilateral focal cryotherapy. Technol Cancer Res Treat. 2007 Apr;6(2):91-5. Abstract

Mouraviev V, Mayes JM, Sun L, Madden JF, Moul JW, Polascik TJ. Prostate cancer laterality as a rationale of focal ablative therapy for the treatment of clinically localized prostate cancer. Cancer. 2007 Aug 15;110(4):906-10. Abstract

Mouraviev V, Nosnik I, Sun L, Robertson CN, Walther P, Albala D, Moul JW, Polascik TJ. Financial comparative analysis of minimally invasive surgery to open surgery for localized prostate cancer: a single-institution experience. Urology. 2007 Feb;69(2):311-4. Abstract

Mouraviev V, Sun L, Madden JF, Mayes JM, Moul JW, Polascik TJ. Prostate cancer laterality does not predict prostate-specific antigen recurrence after radical prostatectomy. Urology. 2007 Dec;70(6):1141-5. Abstract

Polascik TJ, Nosnik I, Mayes JM, Mouraviev V. Short-term cancer control after primary cryosurgical ablation for clinically localized prostate cancer using third-generation cryotechnology. Urology. 2007 Jul;70(1):117-21. Abstract

Sun L, Moul JW, Hotaling JM, Rampersaud E, Dahm P, Robertson C, Fitzsimons N, Albala D, Polascik TJ. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and PSA velocity for prostate cancer detection in men aged <50 years. BJU Int. 2007 Jan 22. Abstract

Tseng TY, Cancel QV, Fesperman SF, Kuebler HR, Sun L, Robertson CN, Polascik TJ, Moul JW, Vieweg J, Albala DM, Dahm P. The role of early adopter bias for new technologies in robot assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy. J Urol. 2007 Apr;177(4):1318-23. Abstract

Mouraviev V, Evans B, Polascik TJ. Salvage prostate cryoablation after primary interstitial brachytherapy failure: a feasible approach. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2006;9(1):99-101. Abstract

Mouraviev V, Polascik TJ. Editorial comment. J Urol. 2006 Jun;175(6):2169. 

Mouraviev V, Polascik TJ. Update on cryotherapy for prostate cancer in 2006. Curr Opin Urol. 2006 May;16(3):152-6. Abstract

Polascik TJ, Given RW, Metzger C, Julian SR, Vestal JC, Karlin GS, Barkley CS, Bilhartz DL, McWhorter LT, Lacerna LV. Open-label trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of zoledronic acid in preventing bone loss in patients with hormone-sensitive prostate cancer and bone metastases. Urology. 2005 Nov;66(5):1054-9. Abstract

Raj GV, Brashears JH, Anand A, Paulson DF, Polascik TJ. Does prior benign prostate biopsy predict outcome for patients treated with radical perineal prostatectomy? Urology. 2005 Feb;65(2):332-6. Abstract

Wiygul JB, Evans BR, Peterson BL, Polascik TJ, Walther PJ, Robertson CN, Albala DM, Demark-Wahnefried W. Supplement use among men with prostate cancer. Urology. 2005 Jul;66(1):161-6. Abstract

Wong TZ, Turkington TG, Polascik TJ, Coleman RE. ProstaScint (capromab pendetide) imaging using hybrid gamma camera-CT technology. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2005 Feb;184(2):676-80. Abstract