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Prostate cancer "five diseases"

Thursday July 30th, 2015

Prostate cancer is five different diseases, according to ground-breaking findings of British research published today.

The research is especially important because it may help doctors distinguish between aggressive disease and slow developing disease.

Researchers from Cambridge, UK, successfully gave a genetic "fingerprint" to each of the five distinct types of cancer they discovered.

This was done by measuring the activity of 100 genes linked to the disease in a study of samples provided by 250 men.

Reporting in EbioMedicine, the researchers say the genetic fingerprints seem to be better at identifying the most aggressive forms of cancer than existing tests.

The work was undertaken at Addenbrooke's Hospital and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

Researcher Dr Alastair Lamb said: "These findings could help doctors decide on the best course of treatment for each individual patient, based on the characteristics of their tumour.

“The next step is to confirm these results in bigger studies and drill down into the molecular 'nuts and bolts' of each specific prostate cancer type. By carrying out more research into how the different diseases behave we might be able to develop more effective ways to treat prostate cancer patients in the future, saving more lives.”

Professor Malcolm Mason, a prostate cancer expert with the charity, said: “This research could be game-changing if the results hold up in larger clinical trials and could give us better information to guide each man’s treatment – even helping us to choose between treatments for men with aggressive cancers."

Ross-Adams et al. Integration of copy number and transcriptomics provides risk stratification in prostate cancer: a discovery and validation cohort study. EbioMedicine 30 July 2015; doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.07.017.

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | Men's Health | UK News

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