A tool that analyzes the expression patterns of four genes might help doctors predict if prostate cancer will reoccur following surgery.
Currently the only other way to estimate tumor aggressiveness is with a Gleason score, a grading system for prostate tumors that has limited power in most cases, researchers say.
Some prostate cancers grow very slowly, and when the disease is detected early the five-year survival rates are nearly 100 percent. However, some men are diagnosed with more aggressive localized disease and even after having a radical prostatectomy to remove the entire prostate gland, cancer will return in one-third of patients.
“Our study sought to improve upon the prediction tools used in these types of cases so that oncologists would know with more certainty when to recommend additional treatment, such as radiotherapy, immediately after surgery,” says Hucky Land, director of research at the University of Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Institute, who led the research.
Earlier, Land’s lab discovered a large group of non-mutated genes that are actively involved in cancer development. After analyzing expression of this gene set in frozen prostate cancer tissue samples, researchers discovered the four-gene signature, which was expressed differently in prostate cancer that later returned.
Justin Komisarof, an MD/PhD student in the Land lab, developed the various algorithms and methods to evaluate the gene signature. The research team concluded that their tool outperformed other scientific methods, and they have applied for a US patent.
The National Institutes of Health and Wilmot Cancer Institute/Roswell Park Cancer Institute Collaboration Pilot Funds supported the research. Scientists from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo collaborated on the study, which appears in the journal Oncotarget.
Source: University of Rochester