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Prostate cancer's multiple personalities revealed
Date:11/3/2010

NEW YORK (Nov. 3, 2010) -- Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College have taken an important step toward a better understanding of prostate cancer by uncovering evidence that it is not one disease, as previously believed, but rather several factors which can be measured and, in the future, destroyed by targeted therapy.

The research team led by of Dr. Mark A. Rubin, the Homer T. Hirst Professor of Oncology in Pathology and vice chair for experimental pathology at Weill Cornell Medical College, identified secondary mutations that cause some types of prostate cancer cells to be lethal. The team believes that their discovery will lead to better tests for prostate cancer, sparing thousands of men from unnecessary biopsies, and leading to more specific and individualized therapy for prostate cancers that are likely to become deadly. The study results were published in the Oct. 29 online edition of the journal Genome Research.

The current research expands on the team's previous work with Arul M. Chinnaiyan's group at the University of Michigan that reported the first evidence that gene fusions, hybrid genes formed from two previously separate genes, play a widespread role in prostate cancer. At the time, it was known that gene fusions could drive the development of blood cancers but were only rarely detected in common solid cancers. Their finding was hailed as a landmark discovery by colleagues when it was first published in 2005 in the journal Science.

In their newly published work, Dr. Rubin and colleagues report evidence that gene fusion prostate cancers are susceptible to secondary mutations. This novel observation supports the view that aggressive cancers need to accumulate multiple mutations. Using discoveries made in this study, clinicians may be better able to diagnose and target potentially deadly tumors.

"In the future, these fusions, specific to certain types of prostate cancer, may help physicians prescribe tailor
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Contact: Andrew Klein
ank2017@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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