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Protein in prostate biopsies signals increased cancer risk
Date:12/3/2013

NEW YORK (December 3, 2013) -- Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College have shown that the presence of a particular protein in biopsied prostate tissue substantially increases the likelihood that cancer will develop in that organ. The discovery will likely help physicians decide how closely to monitor men potentially at risk for the cancer -- among the most confusing and controversial dilemmas in health care.

Their findings, reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, are the first to quantify, in the setting of a clinical trial, the increased risk of prostate cancer development from the protein ERG.

Traditional means of determining risk of prostate cancer -- blood tests for the protein prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and biopsies -- do not always correlate well with the chances of dying from the disease. Decisions on what to do with the results of these tests can be unclear, leaving doctors and patients frustrated and unsure of how to proceed.

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College are looking at specific changes within prostate cells, from an initial biopsy, to determine which men have a higher risk of prostate cancer development and need repeat biopsies or other types of monitoring. This study starts to fill in the picture for about 10 percent of prostate biopsies.

Investigators found that 53 percent of men whose prostate biopsies showed expression of ERG protein developed invasive prostate cancer, compared to 35 percent of men whose biopsies were ERG-negative. All of the biopsies were classified as having high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), which are lesions that may or may not morph into cancer.

The findings mean that potentially thousands of men a year -- those with ERG-positive HGPIN biopsies -- may benefit from increased surveillance and early treatment of prostate cancer, while those whose HGPIN biopsies come back ERG-negative may be able to avoid unnecessa
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Contact: Sarah Smith
sas2072@med.cornell.edu
646-317-7401
Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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