New Subtype of Prostate Cancer Discovered

A team of researchers from several institutions have discovered a new subtype of prostate cancer which they say involves mutations in the SPOP gene. The scientists suspect the mutations cause changes that are involved in the growth of prostate cancer, perhaps from the earliest stage.

Over the years, scientists have made a number of discoveries concerning genes linked to prostate cancer.  For example, researchers recently discovered two gene mutations that can increase prostate cancer risk fourfold, and other discoveries have identified genes responsible for aggressive prostate cancer.

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute came together and discovered a subtype of prostate cancer which they believe accounts for up to 15% of all cases.

Dr. Mark A. Rubin, The Homer T. Hirst Professor of Oncology in Pathology and vice chair for experimental pathology at Weill Cornell Medical College noted that “we have found two main pathways for prostate cancer to develop and this opens the door to development of specialized diagnostic tools and treatments.”

Discovery of a SPOP mutation could be a significant breakthrough. Dr. Christopher Barbieri, a fifth year urology resident at Weill Cornell who did research in Rubin’s laboratory, pointed out that “given the finding that SPOP mutations form a distinct kind of cancer, and if you low ball the incidence at about 10 percent of all tumors, that means, every year, 25,000 men in the US will be diagnosed with tumors that have this mutation.” A better understanding of this new subtype of prostate cancer may provide clues as to the progression of the disease and how to treat it.

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


Distinct molecular subtype of prostate cancer discovered. Medical News Today 2012 May 21

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