Researchers Develop Computer Model to Predict Prostate Cancer Progression

Researchers Develop Computer Model to Predict Prostate Cancer Progression
A new study has yielded a new computer model to understand the progression of prostate cancer, which may yield insights into understanding the disease and providing care for patients. The study, "Molecular Evolution of Early-Onset Prostate Cancer Identifies Molecular Risk Markers and Clinical Trajectories," was published in Cancer Cell. One of the main challenges for researchers studying prostate cancer is understanding the progression of the disease at the molecular level so that accurate predictions can be made regarding prognosis and optimal treatment. Given the complexity of genetic and molecular events that take place during prostate cancer development, an international team of researchers sought to develop a computer model that analyzes these changes and differentiates between aggressive and non-aggressive disease. Researchers particularly focused on the earliest mutational events in prostate cancer, and collected data from 292 men with early onset prostate cancer  (diagnosed before age 55). This data included the fully sequenced cancer genome, as well as the tumor transcriptome (what genes are being expressed) and methylome (a measurement of one kind of epigenetic alteration, which can affect how DNA sequences are "read"). Using this data, the researchers created a computer model for the progression of prostate cancer. "If we have a patient with a particular set of mutations, we can use the model to predict the most likely next mutation that the patient will experience at some point — and how it will affect the patient's clinical situation," Joachim Weis
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Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.

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