Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

U-M researchers discover traits of aggressive form of prostate cancer

10.06.2008
Discovery could lead to a diagnostic urine test

Researchers led by a team at the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology at the University of Michigan Health System have identified traits of an aggressive type of prostate cancer that occurs in about 10 percent of men who have the disease. They hope the discovery could lead, possibly within the next few years, to a simple urine test that will help to diagnose this variation of prostate cancer.

Previous studies by this group of researchers have shown that most prostate cancer is caused in part by a gene fusion – the merging of two unrelated genes, which plays a role in at least 50 percent of prostate cancer cases.

To shed light on the prostate cancers that don't involve gene fusion, the researchers in the current study analyzed data on 1,800 prostate cancers to find commonalities in their genetic aberrations. They learned that a gene called SPINK1 (serine peptidase inhibitor, Kazal type 1) was over-expressed, or found in excess amounts, in prostate cancers that do not have gene fusions. The finding suggests that SPINK1 is a biomarker – a molecule in bodily fluids, blood and tissue that can be a signal of a disease – for a subtype of prostate cancer.

The findings, reported in the June issue of the journal Cancer Cell, also suggest that men with SPINK1–related prostate cancers tend to have a quicker recurrence of the disease than those with other types of prostate cancer.

"Our study is really the first to look at what is happening molecularly with fusion-negative prostate cancers," says Scott Tomlins, Ph.D., first author of the paper and an M.D./Ph.D. student at the U-M Medical School.

"Because SPINK1 can be found non-invasively in urine, a test could be developed that would complement current urine testing that is used to detect some prostate cancer or future urine tests for gene fusions," adds senior author Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology and S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology at the U-M Medical School.

An estimated 186,320 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year, according to the National Cancer Institute, and more than 28,000 men will die from the disease this year. More than 70 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are older than 65.

Current tests for prostate cancer include prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests. Increased levels of PSA can indicate that prostate cancer is present. Another test is a digital rectal examination, which can detect abnormalities in the prostate. Another urine-based test screens for PCA3 as a specific biomarker of prostate cancer.

Background: In 2005, Chinnaiyan and his team made the landmark discovery that in prostate cancer, pieces of two chromosomes trade places with each other. This switch, or translocation, causes two unrelated genes to be placed next to each other and fuse together. The abnormal gene fusion associated with prostate cancer occurs when one of two genes, ERG or ETV1, merges with a prostate-specific gene called TMPRSS2.

Before this discovery, it was thought that gene fusions only occurred in blood cancers, such as leukemias and lymphomas, but not in common solid tumors such as prostate cancer. Chinnaiyan's discovery demonstrated that these gene fusions could be found in solid tumors and has opened an entire field of research. This discovery may lead to better diagnostic tests and new treatments for prostate cancer.

Earlier this year, Chinnaiyan's team published a study about a urine test that more accurately detects prostate cancer than any other screening method currently in use. They built on the PCA3 test by screening for six additional biomarkers and some molecules. In their research, the team accurately identified 80 percent of patients who were later found to have prostate cancer, and they were 61 percent effective in ruling out disease in other study participants.

Methodology: In the current study, the team used a bioinformatics analysis method called Cancer Outlier Profile Analysis (COPA) developed by Tomlins and Daniel Rhodes, Ph.D., in Chinnaiyan's laboratory. COPA makes it possible for researchers to detect extremely high expression levels of outlier genes, or genes with characteristics outside the norm.

Using data from seven studies, they found SPINK1 was over-expressed in prostate cancer when compared to benign prostate cells, and that it was found exclusively in cancers that did not involve ERG or ETV1 gene fusions.

For more information:

U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center mcancer.org
Michigan Center for Translational Pathology www.med.umich.edu/mctp/
Prostate cancer treatment at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center www.cancer.med.umich.edu/cancertreat/urologiconcology/prostate_cancer.shtml
New, non-invasive prostate cancer test beats PSA in detecting prostate cancer www2.med.umich.edu/prmc/media/newsroom/details.cfm?ID=54
National Cancer Institute prostate cancer information www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate
Cancer Cell www.cancercell.org/
Chinniayan's HHMI page www.hhmi.org/research/investigators/chinnaiyan_bio.html
Patients seeking more information about currently available cancer treatments can call the Cancer AnswerLine at 800-865-1125.

Authors: In addition to Tomlins, Chinnaiyan and Rhodes, U-M researchers were from the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, Center for Computational Medicine and Biology, Department of Urology, Department of Biostatistics at the U-M School of Public Health, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

In addition to the U-M research team, authors of the paper are from Brigham and Women's Hospital; Harvard Medical School; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Institute of Pathology, University, Hospitals Ulm, Germany; Örebro University Hospital, Sweden; Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland; and University Hospital UMAS, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.

Funding sources: The study and researchers are supported by the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, Early Detection Research Network, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Clinical Translational Research Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, Medical Scientist Training Program, SPORE from the National Cancer Institute, and numerous international organizations.

Disclosure: U-M has filed for a patent on prostate cancer gene fusions and SPINK1 as biomarkers of prostate cancer on which Chinnaiyan, Tomlins, Rhodes and Rohit Mehra are named as inventors. This technology has been licensed to Gen-Probe Inc. to develop molecular diagnostics for prostate cancer. Chinnaiyan serves as a consultant to Gen-Probe.

Katie Vloet | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Deep stimulation improves cognitive control by augmenting brain rhythms
04.04.2019 | Picower Institute at MIT

nachricht Black nanoparticles slow the growth of tumors
04.04.2019 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>