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Researchers Discover Metabolite Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer
Date:2/11/2009

percent of the metastatic prostate cancer samples and in 42 percent of the early stage cancer samples. None of the cancer-free samples had detectable levels of sarcosine.

In the study, sarcosine was a better indicator of advancing disease than the traditional prostate specific antigen, or PSA, test that is currently used to monitor or screen for prostate cancer. Sarcosine was detected in the urine, which has researchers hopeful that a simple urine test could be used.

In addition, the researchers found that sarcosine is involved in the same pathways that are linked to cancer invasiveness. This suggests sarcosine as a potential target for future drug development.

"This research gets at characterizing the chemical complexity of a sample of cancer progression. In the future, this science will drive how doctors make treatment recommendations for their patients," says study author Christopher Beecher, Ph.D., professor of pathology at the U-M Medical School.

Results are preliminary at this point and will need years of further testing and development before this technology would be available for patients.

Prostate cancer statistics: 186,320 Americans will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and 28,660 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Additional authors: From the University of Michigan: Arun Sreekumar, Laila M. Poisson, Thekkelnaycke M. Rajendiran, Amjad P. Khan, Qi Cao, Jindan Yu, Bharathi Laxman, Rohit Mehra, Robert J. Lonigro, Yong Li, Mukesh K. Nyati, Aarif Ahsan, Shanker Kalyana-Sundaram, Bo Han, Xuhong Cao, Jaemun Byun, Gilbert S. Omenn, Subramaniam Pennathur, John T. Wei and Sooryanarayana Varambally. From Metabolon Inc.: Danny C. Alexander, Alvin Berger and Jeffrey R. Shuster. From Penn State University: Debashis Ghosh.

Funding: National Cancer Institute Early D
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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