Discovery Of New Prostate Cancer Mutation Could Make Treatment More Effective

Medical researchers say that have found a new kind of prostate cancer that could facilitate better diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

In the study, doctors discovered unique mutations in the SPop gene that form a distinctive form of cancerous tumors. Some 10%-15% of those diagnosed with prostate cancer, or about 25,000 men each year, apparently may have this mutation of the disease.

One of the study’s authors, Dr. Christopher Barbieri, told the NY Daily News that “Knowing what these mutations mean may give us huge clues about how the patient’s cancer will progress and how they might be best treated in the future.”

Another leading physician, Dr. Mark Rubin, told the News that “This study, and our prior findings, tells us that prostate cancer is not just one disease but several diseases…this opens the door to development of specialized diagnostic tools and treatments.”

The study was published in the Nature Genetics journal and was a joint effort by several prestigious institutions: the Weill Cornell Medical College, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “Thus, SPOP mutations may define a new molecular subtype of prostate cancer,” the study concludes.

Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. In some cases, cancer cells may metastasize to other parts of the body.

Men traditionally undergo a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test each year as part of their annual physical. However, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) drafted new screening guidelines for prostate cancer last fall that recommended against routine PSA testing in men of average-risk for the disease. It remains to be seen whether this new prostate cancer data will have any affect on the task force’s recommendation.