MD Anderson Researchers Find Gene to Predict Prostate Cancer

MD Anderson Researchers Find Gene to Predict Prostate Cancer

shutterstock_166437050Researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered a gene that is able to predict prostate cancer. The biomarker is similar to KLK3, a gene used to predict which severe form of GS7 prostate cancer patients will develop. The findings of the research were published on the official publication of the American Association of Cancer Research, the Clinical Cancer Research journal.

The team discovered that the KLK3 gene, a gene present on chromosome 19 that encodes for the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), is related to both prostate cancer aggression and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). Using the Gleason score to predict the effects of prostate cancer associated to the GS7 subtype, the researchers were able to identify the variation.

“This is the first report that I am aware of that indicates a genetic variant can stratify GS7 prostate cancer patients,” explained one of the study authors, Jian Gu, Ph.D., associate professor at MD Anderson in the institute’s press release. “This is important because this group with heterogeneous prognosis is difficult to predict and there are no reliable biomarkers to stratify this group.”

During the study, scientists focused on inherited genetic variations in order to identify biomarkers for prostate cancer, analyzing genome-wide association studies (GWAS) conducted in 1,827 prostate cancer patients, focusing on the genetic makeup of 72 SNPs. The researchers identified SNPs associated with disease aggression, and compared them with established cases of different clinical aggressiveness. Their findings included an SNP on the KLK3 gene that is able to identify a severe form of GS7 tumor.

“Treatment options for the GS7 disease are controversial because the burden of combined treatment modalities may outweigh the potential benefit in some patients,” said lead author of the study, Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of Epidemiology. “It is critical that we develop personalized treatments based on additional biomarkers to stratify GS7 prostate cancers. Additional biomarkers may help us achieve personalized clinical management of low and intermediate risk prostate cancer patients.”

The researchers are now planning on expand the study, taking a pathway-based approach in order to conduct a systematic research on genetic variants in microRNA regulatory pathways as biomarkers for the prognosis of prostate cancer patients.  “We are also working on circulating biomarkers.  Eventually, we will incorporate all biomarkers, epidemiological and clinical variants into nomograms to best predict the prognosis of prostate cancer patients at diagnosis,” Wu explained.

The study, supported by the National Cancer Institute, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Prostate Cancer Moon Shots Program and the Center for Translational and Public Health Genomics, was co-authored by Yonggang He, M.D., Ph.D. and Sara Strom, Ph.D., of Epidemiology, as well as Christopher Logothetis, M.D. and Jeri Kim, M.D., of Genitourinary Medical Oncology.