Study discovers gene signature that predicts prostate cancer survival

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have identified a six-gene signature that can be used in a test to predict survival in men with aggressive prostate cancer, according to new research published in the October issue of The Lancet Oncology. This is the first study to demonstrate how prognostic markers may be useful in a clinical setting.

Using blood from 202 men with treatment-resistant , researchers found six genes characteristic of treatment-resistant prostate cancer. Men with the six-gene signature were high-risk, with a survival time of 7.8 months, and men without it were low-risk, with a survival time of approximately 34.9 months. A replication study of 140 additional patients validated these findings. William K. Oh, MD, Chief of the Division of Hematology and of The Tisch Cancer Institute at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, led the research team.

"There is an urgent need for that help assess how aggressive the disease is in prostate cancer patients, as survival can vary greatly," said Dr. Oh. "Our six-gene model, delivered in a simple blood test, will allow clinicians to better determine the course of action for their patients, determine clinical trial eligibility, and lead to more targeted studies in late-stage disease."

Until now, disease prognosis in advanced prostate cancer could only be determined through clinical predictors or, occasionally, with only moderately predictive results. This study shows the efficacy of the six-gene model blood test in determining length of survival.

"The genes noted in the model suggest possible changes in the immune system related to late-stage disease that warrant further study as a target for immune-based therapies," said Dr. Oh.

Dr. Oh's team is conducting additional studies exploring the feasibility of the six-gene signature in other types of prostate cancer, the stability of the signature during the course of a patient's illness, and the predictive ability of this signature in patients with prostate cancer treated with immune-based therapies.

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