Alterations in the genome of men with low-risk prostate cancer could be a potential marker for higher-risk disease in their prostate glands. These findings were recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Researcher George Vasmatzis and his colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, discovered new biomarkers to predict the disease course of prostate cancer. Specific variations in the genome of low-risk prostate cancer patients could help to decide whether or not to treat these patients.
To assess the risk of the patients, the so-called Gleason score is determined after needle biopsy. However, the results are often inaccurate, and several cases are known, where a patient with high risk of prostate cancer remained undetected after biopsy.
The findings of George Vasmatzis show that genomic alterations can be used to distinguish significant tumours from insignificant tumours. By sequencing the DNA of 154 samples from 126 men who underwent prostate cancer surgery, variations in the genome could be linked to the Gleason score. These results were then validated by fluorescence in situ hybridization, a molecular technique to detect and localize the presence specific DNA sequences.
The researchers identified specific genomic patterns that are highly present in the intermediate and high-risk cancer group, in contrast to the low-risk group. These patterns could be potential markers to determine the disease course of the patients. By helping to guide men in their decisions, the issue of prostate cancer over-treatment could partially be solved.