Queen's University scientists have developed a new method of performing lab tests which could aid prostate cancer treatment.
It will allow them to identify with unprecedented accuracy losses of a gene called PTEN that is associated with an aggressive group of prostate cancers.
The improved Fluorescence In-Situ Hybridization (FISH) platform uses DNA probes to analyze the three-dimensional space cancer cells occupy in routine clinical microscopic analysis of tissue sections of tumors. It will provide a more accurate way of identifying PTEN loss in biopsies and tissue sections so doctors can better match the type and amount of treatment to the aggressiveness of a tumor.
"The idea is that this test could be used in new cases of prostate cancer to help decide which of the many options is best suited for more aggressive cancers " says Jeremy Squire, who worked with a team of researchers in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. "The patient treatment from the get-go will be more appropriately planned."
PTEN is found in the nucleus of cancer cells and is considered one of the most important cancer-causing tumor-suppressor genes. If there is loss in the PTEN, it can inhibit the patient's ability to fight the cancer. It plays a critical role in a variety of cancers including prostate, breast, and lung cancers.