Promising new prostate cancer marker

4 Oct 2007
A new indicator of the nature of a prostate tumour could offer improved treatment through greater personalisation of therapy.

A study from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) found that a marker known as 2+Edel, a fusion of two certain genes (TMPRSS2 and ERG) which occurs twice, allowed distinction between aggressive and non aggressive tumours.

The team of researchers, lead by Professors Colin Cooper and Jack Cuzick, found that 2+Edel was indicative of a far more aggressive tumour growth, with prostate cancer patients expressing 2+Edel having only a 25% survival rate after eight years, compared to 90% for patient with no alterations in this region of the DNA.

By using the marker to distinguish between aggressive and non aggressive tumours, clinicians will be able to identify those patients who require immediate and comprehensive treatment and those that require a ‘watch and wait’ approach. The distinction is of particular importance to patients as treatment for the more aggressive forms can cause unpleasant side effects.

Professor Cooper, concluded: “This is an exciting time for prostate cancer research; [scientific] collaborations.….allow us to speed up research into the disease and will hopefully enable us to develop tests which will help prostate cancer diagnosis. We are delighted that the 2+Edel marker is currently being trialled in patients with prostate cancer and we hope that screening for 2+Edel is something that could be incorporated into clinical practice in the next few years, alongside current techniques, to help doctors decide on the most appropriate treatment for men with prostate cancer.”