Patients with prostate cancer and hereditary mutations in the BRCA2 gene have a worse prognosis and lower survival rates than do the rest of the patients with the disease.
This is the main conclusion to come out of a study published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, in which David Olmos, Head of the Prostate Cancer and Genitourinary Tumours Clinical Research Unit at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), has taken part in, along with Elena Castro, a member of the Unit, and British researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
According to Olmos: "Whilst the majority of patients with prostate cancer have an excellent prognosis, one of the biggest challenges we face in daily clinical practice is the difficulty of identifying those patients in which the illness can be fatal".
In order to search for genetic markers that offer clues as to the evolution of the illness, the study's authors examined 61 patients with prostate cancer who were also carriers of mutations in the BRCA2 gene (a gene that suppresses tumours and that protects DNA), 18 patients with mutations in BRCA1 (a gene whose function is similar to BRCA2) and 1,940 patients in which the presence of mutations in both genes had been excluded.
THE LARGEST STUDY TO DATE
The magnitude of the study makes it one of the largest studies carried out so far in prostate cancer patients carrying BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations; these genes are traditionally known for being responsible for familial breast and ovarian cancer syndrome.
Castro, the first author of the article, says: "These data turn the BRCA2 gene into the first genetic factor for prostate cancer prognosis", to which she adds: "The results of this study suggest the need for a paradigm shift in the clinical management of patients with prostate cancer who are carriers of mutations in the BRCA genes; current treatment standards for these patients appear to be insufficient and there are no specific action guidelines".
"Now that we have managed to identify patients with potentially lethal disease, our next challenge is to explore the most adequate treatments with the least side effects that have a real impact on survival", says Olmos.
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men worldwide, although in developed countries it is the most frequently found tumour.
This is the case in Spain, where more than 25,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, making it the third cause of cancer-related deaths in men.
Over the past few decades, an increase in cases has been observed due, above all, to longer life expectancies and the widespread use of the PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) screening test in the general population. Fortunately, a decrease in mortality for this disease has also been observed, due to the majority of diagnoses being carried out at an early stage and due to improved treatments.
Even so, there are still cases in which the disease is fatal and efforts as well as resources are being dedicated to identifying those patients with the worst prognosis and to establishing the most appropriate therapeutic strategies.
CNIO'S PROSTATE CANCER & GENITOURINARY TUMOURS CLINICAL RESEARCH UNIT
The Unit was created in September 2012 in order to improve the quality of life and survival rates of prostate cancer patients. Via a multidisciplinary approach, in which molecular biologists, bioinformatics engineers and clinical oncologists work together, the Unit aims to accelerate the translation of new knowledge generated by CNIO and the international scientific community into clinical practice.
The creation of this new Unit has been made possible thanks to the support received from the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) and the CRIS Foundation Against Cancer.
CNIO'S CLINICAL FAMILIAL CANCER UNIT
The Clinical Familial Cancer Unit (UCCF) offers genetic counselling to patients and their relatives suspected of having a hereditary form of cancer. It carries out the identification, evaluation and study of families in which a mutation in susceptible genes might exist, such as in the case of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The UCCF Consultancy is located within the Medical Oncology Service at the Hospital Universitario de Fuenlabrada (HUF), and works closely with oncologists, other HUF service professionals and other CNIO Groups and Units, in order to evaluate and provide clinical surveillance to patients at risk of suffering from familial, hereditary forms of cancer. The UCCF also offers its services to healthcare professionals and hospitals anywhere in the country.
Nuria Noriega | EurekAlert!
New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News