A group of researchers from the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in Orlando, FL, have found an RNA biomarker detectable in prostate cancer patients’ urine and tissue samples.
There is an unmet need to develop efficient, sensitive and specific biomarkers that allow for an early detection of prostate cancer, this way reducing overtreatment and associated mortality.
The most common prostate cancer screening consists of testing for high concentrations of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in blood samples, many times followed by a biopsy to confirm the existence of cancer.
Nonetheless, the PSA test is far from perfect, with the American Urological Association recommending against its routine use back in 2013.
In this study, titled “Long Noncoding RNAs as Putative Biomarkers for Prostate Cancer Detection“, published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, the research team, led by Ranjan J. Perera, PhD, associate professor and scientific director of Analytical Genomics and Bioinformatics at Sanford-Burnham’s Lake Nona campus in Orlando, identified a group of differentially expressed long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in prostate cancer cell lines and patient samples.
Furthermore, they characterized six lncRNAs that were upregulated in prostatic adenocarcinoma tissue samples and in patient urine samples, when compared to normal healthy controls.
Dr. Vipul Patel, medical director of the Global Robotics Institute at Florida Hospital in Orlando, stated in a Medical News Today interview “While elevated PSA can be an alert to a lethal cancer, it can also detect less aggressive cancers that may never do any harm. Moreover, only 25% of men with raised PSA levels that have a biopsy actually have prostate cancer. Prostate cancer needs to be screened for; we just need to find a better marker.”
“The findings advance our understanding of the role of lncRNAs in cancer biology and, importantly, broaden the opportunity to use lncRNAs as biomarkers to detect prostate cancer,” Dr. Perera added in the interview.
The authors believe the current results can pave the way for other studies to develop long noncoding RNA-based diagnostic assays for early prostate cancer detection, that will ultimately help distinguish benign prostate cancer from precancerous lesions.