Let us meet LEPR, CRY1, RNASEL, IL4, and ARVCF!
Researchers have identified these five new gene variants, or mutations that are associated with the development of prostate cancer. This revolutionary discovery came through as a part of their effort to solve the puzzle behind the development of the aggressive and deadly disease, and design a blood test to aid early stage treatment options.
For this particular study, scientists were seeking genetic variations that could draw attention to risk differences. Blood samples were drawn from over 1,300 prostate cancer patients in the age group of 35 to74 years (during diagnosis) inhabiting the Seattle region.
Researchers identified five single nucleotide polymorphisms in the patients’ “DNA alphabet” that had a considerable effect on prostate cancer advancement in terms of androgen hormone levels, cell death, tumor growth, inflammation, blood-vessel development, and bone density.
Co-director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s program in prostate cancer research, Janet L. Stanford, said: “Biomarkers that could distinguish between patients with indolent vs. more aggressive tumors are urgently needed. The panel of markers we’ve identified provides the first validated evidence that inherited genetic variants play a role in prostate cancer progression and mortality. Ultimately these markers could be used in the clinic, along with other known predictors that are used to assess tumor aggressiveness, such as a high Gleason score, to identify men with a high-risk profile.”
A matter of grave concern is the needless excessive treatment of many prostate cancer patients who are not at a significant the risk of rapid disease advancement and fatalities. There is an increased effort to provide personalized medication after the evaluation and diagnosis of a patient because treatment itself can cause unwanted side effects including sexual impotence and urinary incontinence.
Stanford added: “The ability to distinguish patients at elevated risk for having aggressive, life threatening prostate cancer at the time of diagnosis could improve care for the subset of cases most likely to benefit from aggressive therapy and help avoid over-treatment of patients whose tumors are likely to remain indolent.”
Program director of the translational and preclinical cancer research at the American Cancer Society, William Phelps, acknowledges that existing treatment options can incapacitate patients. This compels them to design more revealing diagnostic tools.
Phelps concludes: “If the treatments we had for prostate cancer were very tolerable or very safe you would probably treat everybody. But the treatments we have available today are less than ideal. So certainly we can try to improve treatment. But at the same time we can also try to improve ways to identify patients who are more likely to progress rapidly from those likely to be very slow going, so we can reserve treatment for only those instances when it’s really necessary. If there are markers that better define the men whose cancer is most likely to progress, that would certainly prove very useful in the current climate.”