A New Test Can Predict the Level Of Relapse In Prostate Cancer

May 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

A recent study from researchers at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine shows that detection of certain abnormalities in genes can predict if the prostate cancer can relapse after treatment. More so, the study can also show the stage or how aggressive the relapse can be.

Various procedures were used in arriving in the conclusion, and more studies are conducted in research. Biopsy, measuring of the CNV (copy number variation), and analyses of about 238 genome samples were used. The measurements, analsis, and trials carried out in the process are described in the following paragraphs:

The findings, published online in The American Journal of Pathology, show that the test also can indicate how aggressive or mild the relapse will be.

Currently, prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, blood levels are tested to monitor the status of prostate tumors, said senior investigator Jian-Hua Luo, associate professor in the department of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

But measuring copy number variation (CNV), which is the deletion or increased redundancy of areas of DNA within chromosomes, in the tumor, neighboring tissues, or blood better reflects the state of the cancer.

“Our method will allow us to determine at the time of, or after biopsy or prostate removal, whether the cancer is likely to come back and, if so, how aggressively,” he says. “It promises to more accurately predict the progression of the disease.”

For the study, the researchers analyzed the genomes of 238 samples obtained from men whose prostate glands were surgically removed; 104 prostate tumor samples; 85 blood samples from prostate cancer patients, and 49 samples of disease-free prostate tissues neighboring the tumors.

A third of the samples were from patients whose cancer had recurred and whose PSA level had doubled in less than four months, which is associated with lethal prostate cancer. A third of the samples came from patients with disease recurrence with a slowly increasing PSA level that doubled in more than 15 months, and a third with no relapse more than five years after surgery. The researchers also examined an additional 25 samples from prostate cancer patients to validate their findings.

They found that deletion and increased redundancy of DNA occurred in all chromosomes in prostate cancer samples. Some of these changes occurred with high frequency. Deletion and increased redundancy of DNA also occurred in benign neighboring tissue and blood samples of the cancer patients.

Gene-specific tumor CNV could correctly predict 73 percent of cases that had relapsed and 75 percent of cases in which PSA levels rapidly doubled. The CNV model from disease-free neighboring tissue correctly predicted 67 percent of cases for relapse and 77 percent of cases for short PSA doubling time. A specific tumor CNV from blood could correctly predict 81 percent of relapse cases and 69 percent of the cases for short PSA doubling time.

The consistency of the associations across specimen types suggest that CNV analysis could reliably indicate what the likelihood of recurrence is either at the time of biopsy of a suspicious mass, when the tumor is removed, or in post-treatment blood monitoring, and could help doctors decide early in the disease process whether an individual’s cancer warrants additional therapy, says Luo.

Additional researchers from the University of Pittsburgh co-authored the study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Source.

So,this could be another breakthrough in prostate cancer research. If this research is validated, then it becomes possible to predict the course which prostate cancer is going to take. And this will provide direction for the right treatment.

The most significant area in which this treatment is going to be of benefit for people is in the area of early diagnosis of this early diagnosis. If the test helps to detect cancer early, then the chances of extending the life of individuals would be increased.

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