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New test could predict prostate cancer aggressiveness

Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, US, have identified a signature of four molecular markers which can predict if the prostate cancer is likely to remain dormant or spread lethally to other parts of the body.

Using computational biology techniques to study gene activity in mouse prostate cancer cells, researchers identified four gene markers, namely, Pten, Smad4, SPP1, and CyclinD1.

In a study involving hundreds of men, the four-gene/protein signature more accurately predicted the men who would die from metastatic spread of prostate cancer when compared to conventional methods.

While the standard test for evaluating prostate cancer’s aggressiveness, known as the Gleason score is accurate 60-70% of the time, the new method was found to be accurate 83% of the time.

In addition, a combination of the standard test and four-gene signature produced an accuracy of approximately 90%.

Researchers are planning to develop a clinical test based on the markers within a year.

According to researchers, the new test will enable the doctors and patients to take appropriate treatment decisions and avoid unnecessary aggressive interventions.