Researchers at the University Of Michigan Medical School have identified a possible cause of prostate cancer, a finding that could result in better forms of treatment or possibly a cure. The study appears in the October issue of Science Magazine.
The findings show a recurring pattern of scrambled chromosomes that leads to the merging of specific genes. The activity occurs only in prostate cancer.
The researchers found the abnormality in the majority of prostate cancer tissue samples they analyzed. The gene fusion was not found in non-cancerous prostate tissue. Identifying the specific genes involved may lead to a new, more accurate test - of the blood or urine - to detect prostate cancer, and possibly more effective methods of treatment.
The finding also suggests similar gene activity may be involved in the development of other soft-tissue cancers such as cancer of the breast, lung, ovaries and colon.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths for men, claiming the lives of an estimated 30,350 men this year, according to the American Cancer Society.
This medical breakthrough will offer hope to many prostate cancer patients. Researchers hope to find out how to identify inhibitors for the specific genes, to parallel the development of a drug designed to target the gene fusion that causes leukemia.
Medindia on prostate cancer:
As the name suggests, prostate cancer develops from cells of the prostate gland. When a person is affected by prostate cancer, the cancer cells may spread outside the gland to other parts of the body. Most prostate cancers grow very slowly and never cause symptoms or spread, but some prostate cancers can grow and spread quickly. The people most likely to get prostate cancer are men over age 50.