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Scientists ID New Biomarker for Prostate Cancer

Study finds cleaved galectin-3 may serve as treatment target against disease progression

WEDNESDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- A newly identified marker for prostate cancer progression may also offer a new target for treatment, University of Michigan researchers say.

Previous research has found that decreased levels of the marker galectin-3 are linked with neoplastic progression in prostate cancer. However, increased levels of galectin-3 are believed to be associated with tumorigenicity in a number of other tumor types.

The University of Michigan team believed this difference was due to the fact that galectin-3 was cleaved during prostate cancer progression. Their study found that cleaved galectin-3 is present in a late-stage prostate cancer and that reducing levels of galectin-3 inhibited development of metastatic prostate cancer.

The findings suggest that cleaved galectin-3 may serve as a diagnostic marker and treatment target for prostate cancer progression.

The study shows "that galectin-3 is cleaved during the progression of prostate cancer and might be associated with metastasis, cell growth and tumorigenicity. Expression of intact versus cleaved galectin-3 thus might be used as a marker for prognosis of prostate cancer and a therapeutic target for the treatment of prostate cancer," wrote study author Avraham Raz and colleagues.

The study appears in the April issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: The American Journal of Pathology, news release, March 25, 2009

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