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New blood marker may predict prostate cancer spread
Date:2/27/2008

tern Medical Center.

Shariat and his colleagues observed 425 patients who had undergone surgery to remove both their prostates and associated pelvic lymph nodes. Researchers measured the levels of plasma endoglin using a commercially available blood test. Higher plasma endoglin levels were associated with an increased risk of cancer spread to the lymph nodes. Each 1 ng/mL increase of plasma endoglin increased the risk for cancer spread into the lymph nodes by 17 percent.

When researchers added endoglin levels to their usual methods of prediction, the accuracy improved from 89.4 percent without endoglin to 97.8 percent. Blood levels of endoglin may allow doctors to predict the risk of cancer spread at an earlier stage and with higher accuracy than currently available methods.

Despite strides in the management of prostate cancer, approximately 25 percent to 30 percent fail primary curative treatment such as radical prostatectomy and radiotherapy. This is often due to spread of cancer cells beyond the original tumor site. Use of plasma endoglin could help identify patients at risk for lymph nodes metastasis who should undergo pelvic lymphadenectomy. In addition, it may spare patients at low risk of lymph node metastasis the potential morbidity of an unnecessary lymphadenectomy, Shariat said.

The authors stressed that some limitations of this study should be noted. The retrospective study, the standard lymph node sampling, and the small number of events support the need for multicenter prospective studies before the clinical use of endoglin as a marker for predicting lymph node metastasis in patients with clinically localized prostate cancer.

Ultimately endoglin will need to be combined with three of four other markers to predict risk with greater certainty. The problem with biomarkers is that there is a tremendous variability among patients, but this moves us forward from what we were able to do with imaging and with
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Contact: Jeremy Moore
Jeremy.moore@aacr.org
267-646-0557
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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