Diagnostic and prognostic genetic tests have been developed to better predict prostate cancer survival outcomes and distinguish clinically relevant cancers.
The diagnostic test distinguished patients with clinically relevant prostate cancer from normal prostate in men with elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, and prognostic tests separate out men who died of prostate cancer versus those who lived.
Scientists at the Kimmel Cancer Center (Philadelphia, PA, USA) performed a retrospective analysis of over 350 patients using an oncogene-specific prostate cancer molecular signature, based on studies carried out in mice. They worked with three oncogenes previously associated with poorer outcomes in prostate cancer: avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (c-Myc), Harvey rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (Ha-Ras), and sarcoma (Schmidt-Ruppin A-2) viral oncogene homolog (v-Src).
Canonical analysis was performed using the c-Myc-specific genes that were also found to be differentially expressed between tumor and normal samples in two human prostate datasets. The first canonical variable, resulting from this analysis, was used to discriminate tumor from normal samples in each human prostate dataset. The oncogene-specific prostate cancer molecular signatures were repeated and validated in distinct populations of patients as a prognostic and diagnostic test for human prostate cancer. The c-Myc gene copy number is increased in up to 30% of cases at the preneoplastic stage in patients with prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. Specifically the tests identified men whose outcome was fatal on average after 30 months.
Richard G. Pestell, MD, PhD, the senior investigator of the study said, "This oncogene signature shows further value over current biomarkers of prediction and outcomes. Such a signature and cell line may also enable the identification of targets for therapies to better treat prostate cancer, which takes the lives of over 27,000 men a year. With this new oncogene-specific prostate cancer molecular signature, we have a valuable prognostic and diagnostic resource that could help change the way we manage and treat prostate cancer." The study was published online on November 30, 2012, in the journal Cancer Research