A new study led by Dr. Andrew Hsieh enabled the identification of two bio-markers that might ameliorate oncologists’ ability to predict which prostate cancers will recur after surgery; this prediction could be done long before the advancement of visible cancer in the patient’s body. The findings will be published in Oncotarget.
For some men, prostate cancer is a curable illness. However, for those patients where the malignancy metastasises, death is often times inevitable. Pinpointing patients who are at high risk of relapsing is key to enabling early treatment options, as it highly improves effectiveness. Dr. Hsieh managed to identify two predictive biomarkers, and explained in a press release: “once clinically verified, biomarkers like these have the potential to help clinicians identify patients who are more likely to relapse and therefore may benefit from additional therapy after surgery.”
Dr. Hsieh’s group showed that the levels of two proteins, YB-1 and MTA1, are inversly connected to prostate cancer recurrence: patients with high amounts of these proteins were significantly more likely to have prostate cancer recurrence and about 3 times more likely to need treatments such as hormone or radiation therapy.
Proteins whose levels are modified when no gene mutations or modifications in messenger RNA expression are present, may be the key to a whole new spectrum of bio-markers. Proteins determine the way cells behave, live, and eventually die. “It’s not like a factory that does the same thing every time. There are levels of regulation,” said Dr. Hsieh.
Dr. Hsieh intends to uncover how differences in the levels of specific proteins can give important clues about how cancers develop and potentially recur. New approaches with implications in drug development might also be revealed. “We have the opportunity to revisit the topic of biomarker discovery in a completely new way,” concluded Dr. Hsieh. “It’s great to be working at the forefront of basic research and clinical medicine here at the Hutch.”