Scientists look at DNA action for prostate cancer diagnosis

Prostate cancer patients suffer from inaccurate screening methods and an inability to accurately predict tumor progression. As a result, many men have undergone needless biopsies or "overtreatment" for tumors that were not life-threatening. The search is on for molecular biomarkers to improve prostate cancer detection and treatment. Writing in UroToday, Yuya Kobayashi tells us about an attempt to use microarrays to identify DNA methylation alterations, which are associated with prostate and other cancers.

They identified "56 mostly previously uncharacterized molecular events" that are better biomarkers for prostate cancer than GSTP1, a gene that is thought to play a role in susceptibility to cancer. The researchers also found a handful of markers associated with the most-aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

"These data together illustrate an interesting picture of the relationship between DNA methylation alterations and prostate cancer progression," Kobayashi writes. The study concludes that a disruption in the regulation of DNA methyltransferases (DNMT) provides the mechanism for prostate cancer formation and could be used in early detection.

- read the article in UroToday

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