National Prostate Cancer Research Consortium (NPCRC)


Research topic

Our vision is “Living well with Prostate Cancer”. The aim of our research is to personalise treatment and care for men with prostate cancer to improve outcomes and optimise quality of life. 

The importance of this research

Ireland has the second highest incidence of Prostate Cancer in Europe with Irish men having a one-in-eight chance of developing prostate cancer over their lifetime. Almost 3,500 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in Ireland, while over 500 men die of advanced prostate cancer each year. Although overall survival for men with localised disease is good with 93% alive at five years, 1 in 5 will have a recurrence, or develop metastases, and die of their cancer within 10 years. Side-effects of treatment can have a significant, long-term effect on quality-of-life with survivors experiencing physical, emotional and psychosocial issues after completing treatment. There are currently over 33,000 men living with prostate cancer in Ireland who may need follow-up care to manage treatment side effects as well as monitoring for relapse of their disease. 

There is an urgent need to determine the right care for the right patient at the right time.  

The focus of our research is to stratify patients into appropriate, informed care pathways guided by the biology of their disease using new and improved services and products. We aim to  

  • reduce over-treatment and adverse side-effects for men with localised disease  
  • determine the correct treatment or combination of treatments for men with advanced disease 
  • develop evidence-based lifestyle support and interventions for men pre- and post-treatment  

We believe from pre-diagnosis right throughout the span of the disease, men should receive the optimum care and support to give them the best possible outcomes and quality-of-life to be able to live well with prostate cancer. 



Team

Dr Emma Allott

Assistant Professor of Nutrition, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health


Dr Anne-Marie Baird

Research Fellow, Trinity College Dublin


Dr Suzanne Bracken

Research Coordinator for the National Prostate Cancer Research Group in Ireland and Translational Research Manager, CRDI


Dr Richard Flavin

Consultant Histopathologist, St. James’s Hospital



Prof Stephen Finn

Consultant Histopathologist, St. James’s Hospital


Mr David Galvin

Consultant Urologist, St Vincents and Mater University Hospitals, Dublin and National Clinical Lead for Prostate Cancer, Ireland


Dr Sharon Glynn

Dr. Sharon Glynn, Lecturer Above the Bar in Pathology, NUI Galway.


Dr Steven Gray

Adjunct assistant professorship, Dept of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin



Prof Therese Kinsella

Associate Professor of Biochemistry, UCD


Prof Laure Marignol

Applied Radiation Therapy Trinity, Trinity College Dublin


Prof Ray McDermott

Clinical Professor in Medical Oncology, University College Dublin


Dr Áine Murphy

Translational Research Manager, Clinical Research Development Ireland



Prof Stephen Pennington

Professor of Proteomics, UCD


Dr Antoinette Perry

Assistant Professor in Genetics and Cell Biology at University College Dublin


Prof Frank Sullivan

Vice Dean for Strategic Partnerships and Adjunct Professor of Medicine, NUI Galway


Prof Bill Watson

Professor of Cancer Biology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin




About the Consortium

The NPCRC was established in 2011 to bring together like-minded scientists and clinicians from Irish academic research institutes including UCD, TCD, UCC, RCSI, DCU and NUI-Galway and the well-established organisations Cancer Trials Ireland, the National Cancer Registry, Ireland (NCRI) and the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE, www.ncpe.ie). 

This network has built upon previous collaborative prostate cancer research initiatives, including the Prostate Cancer Research Consortium (PCRC) which has had three successful funding cycles from the Irish Cancer Society (with support from Movember) since 2006 and brought together clinicians and scientists to address clinically relevant unmet needs in the stratification of patients for appropriate treatment interventions for early stage disease.   

The NPCRC formed the anchor for two programmes of research which secured internationally peer-reviewed funding: 1) Irish Prostate Cancer Outcomes Research (IPCOR; www.ipcor.ie ), which aims to effectively record and report on outcomes of prostate cancer treatments and care with a view to improving the lives of those living with and beyond prostate cancer; and 2) the Irish PROgramme for Stratified ProstatE Cancer Therapy (iPROSPECT) which aims to build capacity to personalise treatments of patients with metastatic disease in order to improve treatment outcomes.  

The NPCRC has long recognised the importance of patient stratification to optimise treatment for men with prostate cancer.  More recently, the NPCRC has revised their strategy/focus to broaden the concept of personalised treatment to include lifestyle support and interventions such as diet, exercise, stress-reduction methods, psycho-social assistance etc to develop the best possible care pathway from pre-diagnosis through treatment and beyond. Furthermore, our belief is that all men in Ireland should be offered access to clinical trials where appropriate (and all clinical trials should incorporate a translational research study). 

Our areas of expertise are in: 



Collaborative Funding to Date

  • PCRC: 2003-2013; €1.5 Million from the Irish Cancer Society
  • iPROSPECT: 2014-2016; €750,000 from Movember in partnership with the Irish Cancer Society
  • IPCOR: 2014-2019; €1.75 Million from Movember in partnership with the Irish Cancer Society


Recent Collaborative Publications

See here

Endosomal gene expression: a new indicator for prostate cancer patient prognosis? Johnson IR, Parkinson-Lawrence EJ, Keegan H, Spillane CD, Barry-O'Crowley J, Watson WR, Selemidis S, Butler LM, O'Leary JJ, Brooks DA. Oncotarget. 2015 Nov 10;6(35):37919-29. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.6114. PMID: 26473288

Cyclodextrin mediated delivery of NF-κB and SRF siRNA reduces the invasion potential of prostate cancer cells in vitro. Evans JC, McCarthy J, Torres-Fuentes C, Cryan JF, Ogier J, Darcy R, Watson RW, O'Driscoll CM. Gene Ther. 2015 Oct;22(10):802-10. doi: 10.1038/gt.2015.50. Epub 2015 May 25. PMID: 26005860

Revolutionizing Precision Oncology through Collaborative Proteogenomics and Data Sharing. Rodriguez H, Pennington SR. Cell. 2018 Apr 19;173(3):535-539.

Pathology-driven Comprehensive Proteomic Profiling of the Prostate Cancer Tumor Microenvironment. Staunton, L, Tonry C, Lis R, Espina, V, Liotta L, Inzitari R, Bowden, M, Fabre, A, O’Leary J, Finn SP, Loda M, Pennington SR . Mol. Cancer Res. 2017. Mar;15(3):281-293 doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-16-0358. PubMed ID: 28057717

Probing the Prostate Tumour Microenvironment I: Impact of Glucose Deprivation on a Cell Model of Prostate Cancer Progression. Tonry CL, Armstrong JA, Pennington SR. Oncotarget. 2017 Feb 28; 8(9): 14374–14394

Probing the Prostate Tumour Microenvironment II: Impact of Hypoxia on a Cell Model of Prostate Cancer Progression. Tonry CL, Armstrong JA, Pennington SR. Oncotarget. Feb 28;8(9):15307-15337

Need for biomarkers in active surveillance of prostate cancer. Oncology News. Includes ‘View from the Clinic – A Patient’s Perspective’ 2016. Leacy E, Finn S, Pennington SR. Weblink: http://media.wix.com/ugd/17dcca_5fb070d908b74acf830138032fcd6dd8.pdf

The Role of Proteomics in Biomarker Development for Improved Patient Diagnosis and Clinical Decision Making in Prostate Cancer. Tonry CL, Leacy E, Raso C, Finn SP, Armstrong J, Pennington SR. Diagnostics. 26(3), 27, 2016. doi:10.3390/diagnostics6030027. PubMed PMID: 27438858

Corpora amylacea in prostatectomy tissue and associations with molecular, histological, and lifestyle factors. DuPre NC, Flavin R, Sfanos KS, Unger RH, To S, Gazeeva E, Fiorentino M, De Marzo AM, Rider JR, Mucci LA; Transdisciplinary Prostate Cancer Partnership(ToPCaP). Prostate. 2018 Jul 15. doi: 10.1002/pros.23692. [Epub ahead of print]

Perineural Invasion and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer. Zareba P, Flavin R, Isikbay M, Rider JR, Gerke TA, Finn S, Pettersson A, Giunchi F, Unger RH, Tinianow AM, Andersson SO, Andrén O, Fall K, Fiorentino M, Mucci LA; Transdisciplinary Prostate Cancer Partnership (ToPCaP).

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 May;26(5):719-726. Intracellular location of BRCA2 protein expression and prostate cancer progression in the Swedish Watchful Waiting Cohort. Thorgeirsson T, Jordahl KM, Flavin R, Epstein MM, Fiorentino M, Andersson SO, Andren O, Rider JR, Mosquera JM, Ingoldsby H, Fall K, Tryggvadottir L, Mucci LA; Transdisciplinary Prostate Cancer Partnership (ToPCaP). Carcinogenesis. 2016 Mar;37(3):262-8.

A Prospective Investigation of PTEN Loss and ERG Expression in Lethal Prostate Cancer. Ahearn TU, Pettersson A, Ebot EM, Gerke T, Graff RE, Morais CL, Hicks JL, Wilson KM, Rider JR, Sesso HD, Fiorentino M, Flavin R, Finn S, Giovannucci EL, Loda M, Stampfer MJ, De Marzo AM, Mucci LA, Lotan TL. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Nov 27;108(2).

SPINK1 protein expression and prostate cancer progression. Flavin R, Pettersson A, Hendrickson WK, Fiorentino M, Finn S, Kunz L, Judson GL, Lis R, Bailey D, Fiore C, Nuttall E, Martin NE, Stack E, Penney KL, Rider JR, Sinnott J, Sweeney C, Sesso HD, Fall K, Giovannucci E, Kantoff P, Stampfer M, Loda M, Mucci LA. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Sep 15;20(18):4904-11

Modification of the association between obesity and lethal prostate cancer by TMPRSS2:ERG. Pettersson A, Lis RT, Meisner A, Flavin R, Stack EC, Fiorentino M, Finn S, Graff RE, Penney KL, Rider JR, Nuttall EJ, Martin NE, Sesso HD, Pollak M, Stampfer MJ, Kantoff PW, Giovannucci EL, Loda M, Mucci LA. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Dec 18;105(24):1881-90

Integrating biomarkers across omic platforms: an approach to improve stratification of patients with indolent and aggressive prostate cancer. Murphy K, Murphy BT, Boyce S, Flynn L, Gilgunn S, O'Rourke CJ, Rooney C, Stöckmann H, Walsh AL, Finn S, O'Kennedy RJ, O'Leary J, Pennington SR, Perry AS, Rudd PM, Saldova R, Sheils O, Shields DC, Watson RW. Mol Oncol. 2018 Jun 21. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12348. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29927052 

Role of serum response factor expression in prostate cancer biochemical recurrence. Prencipe M, Fabre A, Murphy TB, Vargyas E, O'Neill A, Bjartell A, Tasken KA, Grytli HH, Svindland A, Berge V, Eri LM, Gallagher W, Watson RW. Prostate. 2018 Jul;78(10):724-730. doi: 10.1002/pros.23516. Epub 2018 Apr 2. PMID: 29608018

MARCKS promotes invasion and is associated with biochemical recurrence in prostate cancer. Dorris E, O'Neill A, Hanrahan K, Treacy A, Watson RW. Oncotarget. 2017 Jun 30;8(42):72021-72030. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.18894. eCollection 2017 Sep 22.PMID: 29069765 

Stromal and epithelial transcriptional map of initiation progression and metastatic potential of human prostate cancer. Tyekucheva S, Bowden M, Bango C, Giunchi F, Huang Y, Zhou C, Bondi A, Lis R, Van Hemelrijck M, Andrén O, Andersson SO, Watson RW, Pennington S, Finn SP, Martin NE, Stampfer MJ, Parmigiani G, Penney KL, Fiorentino M, Mucci LA, Loda M. Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 4;8(1):420. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00460-4. PMID: 28871082 

Investigating the role of the IGF axis as a predictor of biochemical recurrence in prostate cancer patients post-surgery. Breen KJ, O'Neill A, Murphy L, Fan Y, Boyce S, Fitzgerald N, Dorris E, Brady L, Finn SP, Hayes BD, Treacy A, Barrett C, Aziz MA, Kay EW, Fitzpatrick JM, Watson RWG. Prostate. 2017 Sep;77(12):1288-1300. doi: 10.1002/pros.23389. Epub 2017 Jul 20. PMID: 28726241 

Molecular Subgroup of Primary Prostate Cancer Presenting with Metastatic Biology. Walker SM, Knight LA, McCavigan AM, Logan GE, Berge V, Sherif A, Pandha H, Warren AY, Davidson C, Uprichard A, Blayney JK, Price B, Jellema GL, Steele CJ, Svindland A, McDade SS, Eden CG, Foster C, Mills IG, Neal DE, Mason MD, Kay EW, Waugh DJ, Harkin DP, Watson RW, Clarke NW, Kennedy RD. Eur Urol. 2017 Oct;72(4):509-518. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2017.03.027. Epub 2017 Apr 10.PMID: 28408174 

The prognostic utility of the transcription factor SRF in docetaxel-resistant prostate cancer: in-vitro discovery and in-vivo validation. Lundon DJ, Boland A, Prencipe M, Hurley G, O'Neill A, Kay E, Aherne ST, Doolan P, Madden SF, Clynes M, Morrissey C, Fitzpatrick JM, Watson RW. BMC Cancer. 2017 Mar 1;17(1):163. doi: 10.1186/s12885-017-3100-4. PMID: 28249598 

The role of epithelial-mesenchymal transition drivers ZEB1 and ZEB2 in mediating docetaxel-resistant prostate cancer. Hanrahan K, O'Neill A, Prencipe M, Bugler J, Murphy L, Fabre A, Puhr M, Culig Z, Murphy K, Watson RW. Mol Oncol. 2017 Mar;11(3):251-265. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12030. Epub 2017 Jan 30. PMID: 28133913

Expression of the TPα and TPβ isoforms of the thromboxane prostanoid receptor (TP) in prostate cancer: clinical significance and diagnostic potential. Mulvaney EP, Shilling C, Eivers SB, Perry AS, Bjartell A, Kay EW, Watson RW, Kinsella BT. Oncotarget. 2016 Nov 8;7(45):73171-73187. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.12256. PMID: 27689401

Folate-targeted amphiphilic cyclodextrin.siRNA nanoparticles for prostate cancer therapy exhibit PSMA mediated uptake, therapeutic gene silencing in vitro and prolonged circulation in vivo. Evans JC, Malhotra M, Guo J, O'Shea JP, Hanrahan K, O'Neill A, Landry WD, Griffin BT, Darcy R, Watson RW, O'Driscoll CM. Nanomedicine. 2016 Nov;12(8):2341-2351. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2016.06.014. Epub 2016 Jul 4. PMID: 27389146 

Improving multivariable prostate cancer risk assessment using the Prostate Health Index. Foley RW, Gorman L, Sharifi N, Murphy K, Moore H, Tuzova AV, Perry AS, Murphy TB, Lundon DJ, Watson RW. BJU Int. 2016 Mar;117(3):409-17. doi: 10.1111/bju.13143. Epub 2015 May 24. PMID: 25847734




Collaborators