Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common Prostate Cancer: A Different Process Altogether?

Date:
March 4, 1999
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Nearly 90 percent of prostate cancers -- "the typical, garden varieties," according to Johns Hopkins scientists -- are linked to a previously unsuspected but common genetic process that could be reversible. The process looks to be a fundamental one in cancer and appears in other common forms of the disease, like breast cancer.

Nearly 90 percent of prostate cancers -- "the typical, garden varieties," according to Johns Hopkins scientists -- are linked to a previously unsuspected but common genetic process that could be reversible. The process looks to be a fundamental one in cancer and appears in other common forms of the disease, like breast cancer.

Related Articles


Unlike cancers due to mutations that make structural changes in a gene, such as the colon cancers that run in families, most prostate cancer may involve a process called "gene switching," the researchers say. Switching occurs when certain members of a family of genes are switched on while others in the family shut down. "It's a process common during embryonic development," says molecular pathologist Shrihari S. Kadkol, M.D., Ph.D., one of the researchers in a study appearing today in Nature Medicine, "but we believe this is the first time anyone's definitively linked gene switching within a family of genes, with cancer."

"Most important is that someday, it's likely we can reverse switching with drugs," says molecular pathologist Gary R. Pasternack, M.D., Ph.D., who led the Hopkins research team. "This means one of the commonest cancers in men has the potential of being corrected without using typical gene therapy."

In their work, the scientists used molecular probes to highlight and compare the gene activity in cancer patients' normal prostate tissue with that of their tumors. The investigators found clear evidence that a gene called pp32 was switched on in normal cells but generally switched off in cancer cells. Earlier studies by the team showed pp32 acts as a suppressor and keeps cells from turning malignant.

Yet close relatives of the gene, to the researchers' surprise, act like pp32's genetic evil twins and encourage tumor growth. The pp32r1 and pp32r2 genes are present and turned on in perhaps 90 percent of the prostate cancers the team studied.

"We first thought pp32 had just mutated," says Kadkol, "but the types of differences between it and the variant genes told us this wasn't the case." The researchers say switching could be a fundamental process in cancer, and they've already linked it with common forms of breast cancer. "In the breast cancer patients we've examined," says Kadkol, "we saw this same pp32 switching pattern."

"If we can understand how the switching process works, what controls it," adds Pasternack, "we can potentially reverse it. That's our next task." If their work goes smoothly, he adds, they could screen and find drugs for this purpose within two years. Then the candidate investigational drug would undergo the usual FDA-sponsored tests in people.

"We also believe this work may have a role in diagnosis or in predicting disease outcome," says Pasternack. "Prostate specific antigen (PSA), the present common screen for prostate cancer, doesn't always tell the complete story or, particularly in older men, doesn't let us make a clear prognosis. This might help."

The prognostic studies are already underway as part of a congressionally-sponsored project with the Army to hasten select basic research into clinical applications. The reported study was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. A patent is pending on the technology involved in the study. Other researchers are Jonathan R. Brody, Jining Bai, Ph.D., and Jonathan Pevsner, Ph.D.

Related Web sites: http://pathology.jhu.edu/research_programs (molecular pathology)

A photograph of prostate cancer cells lit up with the "bad" form of pp32 is available online (http://hopkins.med.jhu.edu/NewsMedia/press/1999/FEBRUARY/pp32.htm) or as a hard copy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Common Prostate Cancer: A Different Process Altogether?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990304051950.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (1999, March 4). Common Prostate Cancer: A Different Process Altogether?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990304051950.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Common Prostate Cancer: A Different Process Altogether?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990304051950.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins