Research could help improve early diagnosis of prostate cancer

February 25, 2014

Prostate cancer patients could get better diagnosis and treatment for the disease in the future thanks to a successful research project at the University of Essex.

Currently, is it difficult to distinguish between benign and aggressive malignant tumours, meaning some prostate cancer patients are unnecessarily "over-treated" which can lead to needless distress and anxiety.

Scientists in this field have been looking to find biomarkers to distinguish between the two types of tumours, and now prostate cancer experts at Essex have found an important link between the molecule known as BORIS and malignant tumours.

The research, published in the February issue of the journal Prostate, could lead the way for pathologists to have better tools for the early diagnosis of prostate cancer and for patients to get the most appropriate level of treatment for them.

The major three-year study involved the University-based Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute (EBSI) working with the Colchester Catalyst Charity and the Urology and Pathology Departments at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

Leading the project at Essex was Professor Elena Klenova, who was part of the scientific team which first discovered BORIS in 2002 and its importance in prostate cancer research.

"Apart from playing an important role in the development of sperm in men, BORIS is not usually expressed in the body," explained Professor Klenova, "However, it does appear in malignant tumours, which is why it is seen as an important molecule in the development of cancer. It also can help distinguish between normal and cancerous cells".

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. Around 37,000 UK men are diagnosed with the disease each year. Many develop very slowly, but in a small proportion of cases the cancer grows more quickly and spreads to other areas of the body, sometimes proving fatal.

The research was co- funded by the Colchester Catalyst Charity as part of its ongoing mission to improve the health care of people living in north-east Essex. However, the study's findings obviously have a wider impact generally for the treatment and the understanding of prostate cancer.

Professor Klenova's team at Essex, which included Zubair Cheema and Yukti Hari-Gupta, sponsored by Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust and the Colchester Catalyst Charity, respectively, looked at levels of BORIS in benign and malignant tumours and found that it was only present in malignant tumours, suggesting that the molecule could prove to be a useful biomarker for aggressive symptoms of the disease.

John Corr, consultant urological surgeon at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Collaborative work like this between a university and an acute hospital trust is a very under-utilised resource in the NHS, and I am very happy to be involved in it.

"This is a very exciting finding and will help in our daily fight against prostate cancer.

"It may more accurately identify those patients that need active treatment and aid in predicting long-term outcomes."

The scientists will now investigate the link between BORIS and malignant tumours further with a bigger study.

Explore further: Scientists finally discover which prostate cancers are life-threatening

Related Stories

Scientists finally discover which prostate cancers are life-threatening

November 19, 2013
Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered that the presence of a specific protein can distinguish between prostate cancers that are aggressive and need further treatment from those that may never seriously harm the patient.

Genetic screening can identify men with advanced prostate cancer

February 20, 2014
Screening men with a family history of prostate cancer for a range of gene mutations can identify those who are at high risk of aggressive forms of the disease and in need of lifelong monitoring, a new study has shown.

Scientists overcome barrier to prostate cancer research

October 24, 2013
Monash scientists have overcome one of the major barriers to the study and treatment of localised -or organ confined- prostate cancer.

New imaging agent has an appetite for dangerous prostate tumors

December 8, 2011
Non-invasive imaging detects prostate cancer earlier than ever before, but can't accurately distinguish between malignant and benign disease. According to Lawson Health Research Institute's Drs. John Lewis and Len Luyt, a ...

Prostate cancer advance could improve treatment options

February 12, 2014
Researchers at the University of East Anglia have made an important advance in understanding genetic changes associated with terminal prostate cancer.

Recommended for you

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

July 19, 2017
A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.