Scientists Find New Gene Tool for Predicting Course of Prostate Cancer

A recent research paper in Oncotarget, a weekly peer-reviewed open access medical journal covering research on all aspects of oncology, reported that researchers from UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute and Roswell Park Cancer Institute have discovered a possible new tool for predicting whether prostate cancer will reoccur following surgery based on the expression patterns of four genes.

Since prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the incidence is expected to rise with an aging population, detecting a way to predict the course of prostate cancer is vital.

“Our study sought to improve upon the prediction tools used in these types of cases so that oncologists would know with more certainty when to recommend additional treatment, such as radiotherapy, immediately after surgery,” said Hucky Land, Ph.D., lead researcher.

Land’s lab discovered a large group of non-mutated genes that are actively involved in cancer development.  After analyzing expression of this gene set in frozen prostate cancer tissue samples, researchers discovered the four-gene signature, which was expressed differently in prostate cancer that later returned.

The Wilmot/Roswell Park tool was able to predict recurrence, based on human tissue samples and known patient outcomes, with 83 percent accuracy.  Currently, the only other way to estimate tumor aggressiveness is with a Gleason score, a grading system for prostate tumors that has limited power in most cases.

At Louisville CyberKnife, we treat men for prostate cancer using the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, nonsurgical prostate cancer treatment technology in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator mounted on a highly maneuverable robotic arm.  Hundreds of different angles enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy.  This precision reduces treatment time to just five outpatient visits, compared to the average 45 visits conventional radiation therapy requires.

To learn more about how Louisville CyberKnife treats prostate cancer, please click here.