One Cell Could Lead To Prostate Cancer

John Hopkins experts think they may have narrowed metastatic cancer down to one singe cell. Studying the autopsies of 33 men who died from prostate cancer the experts were able to pinpoint the single cell that has genetic defects.
The scientists went all out on the research, taking the tumors from the 33 men and preparing 150,000 slides and 30,000 blocks of tissue. The results of the 14 year study was hindered by finding men who would allow for an autopsy immediately after the died from prostate cancer. Findings from the study were published online April 12 in Nature Medicine.

Science Daily reports:

“Many of the men were motivated to join the study in hopes of leaving some legacy that might lead to cures for this cancer,” says Bova, who holds secondary appointments in the departments of pathology, genetic medicine, health sciences informatics, oncology, and urology at Johns Hopkins.

“Much is unclear and appears chaotic about how cancer spreads, but analyzing genetic markers allows us to trace its roots backward, somewhat like ancestry,” says Bova.

The single cell left clues for the researchers hidden in the changes that occur in a cell’s DNA. Cancers are caused when the DNA code of a cell is altered. When the DNA because mutated for whatever reason it can cause unchecked cell growth and spread.

The scientists scanned genes that spanned the entire genome from autopsy samples looking for areas of copy number variations. Attaching the DNA to special silicon chips they then photographed them into a computer program that produced a report with varying colors representing the amount of DNA per sample.

The scans allowed the scientists to compare the patterns of gains and losses in tissue samples from multiple metastatic sites in 29 of the bodies. Unique copy number changes where noted along with shared multiple metastatic sites in each man and then again with the other men as a whole in the study.

What the researchers found was that several of the men had missing chunks of DNA in the same DNA region.

Science Daily reports:

Tissue samples from 14 of the 33 men were studied at the highest available resolution, and all showed common genetic patterns across metastatic sites, suggesting a single cell source for their cancer.

Future research is planned to see if the different metastatic sites came from a “big bang” in the prostate or if the changes happen more slowly.

With time the results from these studies could make for personalized cancer therapies for patients of prostate cancer.

In other prostate cancer news the SLC45A3-ELK4 gene fusion has been found to be detectable at high levels in urine as a risk factor in some men. If more testing shows that the data can be validated future testing for prostate cancer may become simpler.

Science Daily reports:

“Our work has a long-term goal of achieving a test that distinguishes clinically significant prostate cancer from indolent disease that does not require additional treatment. With better diagnosis, we will be able to treat cancer patients with individualized therapies — one of the main goals of the Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center,” continues Dr. Rubin, who is the Center’s associate director of translational research and a pathologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Work is already underway using the gene fusion TMPRSS2-ERG in another urine test for the disease.

It’s believed that different types of gene fusions may be a common mechanism with cancer. By hijacking androgen-regulated genes with nearby genes alternations could be occurring. It may be the way that tumors have the competitive edge in the body.


One response to “One Cell Could Lead To Prostate Cancer

You must be logged in to post a comment.

%d bloggers like this: