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Using big data to identify prostate cancers and best treatments
Date:5/23/2013

the costs can be astronomical. For example, radiation therapy always destroys healthy tissue. Rectal toxicity can be caused by radiation spillover from prostate treatment, he explained. Use of a proton gun to treat prostate cancer reaches about $125,000 per patient.

In their search for cues that help identify very low-risk prostate cancer and the best treatments for each form, the researchers are looking at data from 300 men, half who chose immediate surgery after diagnosis and half who chose to have their cancer monitored.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins are focusing on molecular biomarkers from tissue samples of prostate cancers. They are looking at a set of five unique biomarkers to separate the very low-risk group from the low-risk, intermediate-risk and high-risk groups.

The Case Western Reserve researchers are undertaking a quantitative computerized image analysis-based study of the organization and structure of diseased tissues. Specifically, they are looking for differences in the shape and size and architecture of nuclei within the tissue, as well as the shape of the cross-sections of glands in the samples. All can indicate the disease's aggressiveness and characteristics.

The data comes from digitized images of biopsy slides. A simple biopsy image of prostate cancer digitized via a whole slide scanner can be several gigabytes in size. In a typical biopsy procedure, 10 to 12 samples are removed and, after those are laid out on slides and digitized, that translates to hundreds of gigabytes of data.

"All of this data is a challenge and opportunity; the words go hand in hand," Madabhushi said. "How we deal with it all is a challenge, but the opportunity is in what it can tell us. There's so much we don't know and there's only so much a pathologist can tell us. There's a limit to how much time a pathologist can spend analyzing a glass slide."

The researchers write and employ algorithms, which are programs enc
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Contact: Kevin Mayhood
kevin.mayhood@case.edu
216-368-4442
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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