Tags: prostate | cancer | switch

Prostate Cancer ‘On-off Switches’ Identified

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 03:00 PM

Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered biomarkers for “on-off switches” of genes that occur early in the development of prostate cancer – findings that could lead to new ways to detection the disease and the likelihood of a recurrence.
The discovery, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, is the first to capture the changes that occur in prostate cancer and could help doctors catch the disease months or even years earlier than current approaches.
The biomarkers — known as DNA methylation profiles — also predict the likelihood cancer will recur or spread to other organs.
"Our approach is more accurate and reliable than the widely used PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test," said lead researcher Krishna Donkena, a Mayo Clinic molecular biologist.
Donkena said the findings could one day help physicians diagnose prostate cancer earlier and devise more effective treatment decisions to improve cure rates and reduce deaths. It may also point the way to the development of new drugs that turn the "off" switch back "on" to combat the cancer.
The widely used PSA test detects any prostate abnormality -- inflammation, cancer, infection or enlargement -- while the DNA methylation changes are specific to prostate cancer, she said.
For the study, Donkena and her colleagues analyzed 14,495 genes from 238 prostate cancer patients. The researchers found that the DNA changes that occurred during the earliest stages of prostate cancer development were nearly identical in all patients and could be used to distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissue, and between patients with varying levels of recurrence risk. They also found distinct DNA patterns that indicated whether a patient had a slow-growing tumor or a more aggressive one.
Donkena and her colleagues are now working to develop a DNA methylation test that is more cost-effective and practical for use in clinical settings.

© HealthDay

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Mayo Clinic scientists find biomarkers for cancer genes that may flag the disease better than PSA tests.
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 03:00 PM
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