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Scientists discover distinct molecular subtype of prostate cancer
Date:5/20/2012

cers containing the so-called "ETS" fusion genes, such as TMPRSS2-ERG.

"While there is still a need for increased discovery, it does appear that the overall genetic landscape of prostate cancer is taking shape, and better understanding of the biology and possible therapeutic avenues linked to these alterations has become a very high priority," says Dr. Levi Garraway, a senior associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and assistant professor at the DanaFarber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Rubin and Dr. Garraway are co-senior investigators for this study and for others that have preceded it in this unique examination of prostate cancer genes.

In February 2011, the collaborative groups published a study in Nature in which they used whole genome sequencing to discern global changes and patterns of abnormality in seven prostate tumors and compared them to normal tissue samples. They found that areas of the genome had been unexpectedly rearranged -- just as Dr. Rubin and his collaborators at the University of Michigan had in 2005 with the discovery of the common recurrent TMPRSS2-ERG gene rearrangement, created by the fusion of two different genes.

This current study looked at different drivers of cancer, which are mutations in specific genes. It focused on the 1-2 percent of DNA in the genome that codes for proteins, and, as such, is one of the largest "whole exome" sequencing studies published on prostate cancer to date, according to Dr. Garraway.

The impetus to search for genes in this way came about because of the observation that SPOP appeared to be mutated in some cases of prostate cancer, says Dr. Christopher Barbieri, a fifth year urology resident at Weill Cornell who spent a research year in Dr. Rubin's laboratory in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Broad Institute researchers, led by Dr. Garraway and Dr. Sylvan Baca, completed an intensive exome sequenc
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Contact: Lauren Woods
law2014@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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