A study reveals that scientists have developed a new identification mechanism that can detect genetic variations linked to prostate cancer to predict aggressiveness of the disease in a better way.
The method relies on understanding the genetic interaction between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The goal is to better predict a prostate cancer's aggressiveness to avoid unnecessary radical treatment, say researchers.
The findings of the joint study by researchers at Moffitt Cancer Centre and Louisiana State University of the US was published in the online journal PLOS ONE in April.
According to the authors, prostate cancer accounts for 20 percent of all cancers and nine percent of cancer deaths. It is the most common cancer and was the second leading cause of cancer related death in American men in 2012.
"For most prostate cancer patients, the disease progresses relatively slowly," said study co-author Hui-Yi Lin, member of the Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine Programme at Moffitt.
"However, some cases grow aggressively and metastasize. It is often difficult to tell the difference between the two," Hui-Yi Lin added.
The two treatment options for aggressive prostate cancer -- radical surgery and radiation therapy -- have negative side effects, such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction. That is why the authors believe there is an urgent need for biomarkers that can identify or predict aggressive types of prostate cancer.