The most comprehensive genomic analysis of prostate cancer has been developed by scientists who hope this will help to develop patient subgroups and in making individual treatment decisions.
"One of the holy grails of prostate cancer is to identify which tumors need to be aggressively treated and which don't. Ultimately, what we have learned could lead to the creation of a genetic-based test to determine which prostate cancers might become more virulent and require aggressive treatment and which tumors may not," said senior study author Charles Sawyers, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
The difference between aggressive treatment and a "wait and watch" approach has obvious quality-of-life implications for prostate cancer patients.
The MSKCC team used an integrated, comprehensive approach to analyze 218 primary and metastatic samples and 12 cell lines. All samples were procured from patients treated by radical prostatectomy at MSKCC.
The analysis revealed a much higher frequency of alterations in the androgen receptor pathway than previously suspected. Also, the pattern of DNA copy number alterations identified defined subsets of low-and high-risk disease beyond what is revealed by Gleason score.
The study has been published early online on June 24 in the journal Cancer Cell.