Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One disease, two mechanisms: genetic root to early-onset prostate cancer identified

Date:
February 11, 2013
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Summary:
While prostate cancer is the most common cancer in elderly Western men it also, but more rarely, strikes patients aged between 35 and 50. Scientists have discovered that such early-onset prostate cancers are triggered by a different mechanism from that which causes the disease at a later age. Their findings might have important consequences for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer in younger patients.

While prostate cancer is the most common cancer in elderly Western men it also, but more rarely, strikes patients aged between 35 and 50. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, in collaboration with several other research teams in Germany*, have discovered that such early-onset prostate cancers are triggered by a different mechanism from that which causes the disease at a later age. Their findings are published February 11 in Cancer Cell, and might have important consequences for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer in younger patients.

The researchers compared the genomes of 11 early-onset tumours with 7 late-onset tumours and observed marked differences at the molecular level. The genomes of early-onset prostate tumours undergo a relatively small number of changes compared to tumours that develop in older patients.

However, this small number of events leads to crucial exchanges of DNA between chromosomes, causing genes that are normally independent to become tightly linked (known as 'fusion genes'). Many of the genes affected by these rearrangements are usually activated by androgen hormones, such as testosterone. Through these rearrangements they become connected to cancer genes, resulting in fusion genes that can be activated by androgen hormones, so that otherwise inactive genes with the potential to cause cancer are now switched on.

"Prostate cancer in young patients appears to be specifically triggered by androgens and to involve genetic alterations that distinguish this cancer from prostate tumours in older patients," explains Jan Korbel, who led the study at EMBL. "We also measured the levels of androgen receptors in a large cohort of patients from Hamburg, and found data consistent with our initial genomic analysis."

Younger patients with prostate cancer tend to have higher levels of androgen hormone receptors than older patients with the same disease. This could be a natural effect, because the level of these hormones decreases in men older than 50. But it supports the researchers' conclusion that androgens might trigger the mechanism leading to prostate cancer in younger patients, and not in older ones.

Further research is needed to provide the scientific and medical community with more details, particularly regarding the medical impact of testosterone levels in men. However, in the future these findings may have widespread clinical consequences. "We hope that our findings on the cause of the disease will promote the development of new strategies to diagnose, prevent, and even individually treat this cancer," explains Thorsten Schlomm from the Martini Klinik at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).

* This study is a part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) project. In addition to EMBL, it involves the Martini-Klinik and the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, both in Hamburg, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, and the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, all in Germany.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joachim Weischenfeldt, Ronald Simon, Lars Feuerbach, Karin Schlangen, Dieter Weichenhan, Sarah Minner, Daniela Wuttig, Hans-Jörg Warnatz, Henning Stehr, Tobias Rausch, Natalie Jäger, Lei Gu, Olga Bogatyrova, Adrian M. Stütz, Rainer Claus, Jürgen Eils, Roland Eils, Clarissa Gerhäuser, Po-Hsien Huang, Barbara Hutter, Rolf Kabbe, Christian Lawerenz, Sylwester Radomski, Cynthia C. Bartholomae, Maria Fälth, Stephan Gade, Manfred Schmidt, Nina Amschler, Thomas Haß, Rami Galal, Jovisa Gjoni, Ruprecht Kuner, Constance Baer, Sawinee Masser, Christof von Kalle, Thomas Zichner, Vladimir Benes, Benjamin Raeder, Malte Mader, Vyacheslav Amstislavskiy, Meryem Avci, Hans Lehrach, Dmitri Parkhomchuk, Marc Sultan, Lia Burkhardt, Markus Graefen, Hartwig Huland, Martina Kluth, Antje Krohn, Hüseyin Sirma, Laura Stumm, Stefan Steurer, Katharina Grupp, Holger Sültmann, Guido Sauter, Christoph Plass, Benedikt Brors, Marie-Laure Yaspo, Jan O. Korbel, Thorsten Schlomm. Integrative Genomic Analyses Reveal an Androgen-Driven Somatic Alteration Landscape in Early-Onset Prostate Cancer. Cancer Cell, 2013; 23 (2): 159 DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2013.01.002

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "One disease, two mechanisms: genetic root to early-onset prostate cancer identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211134804.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). (2013, February 11). One disease, two mechanisms: genetic root to early-onset prostate cancer identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211134804.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "One disease, two mechanisms: genetic root to early-onset prostate cancer identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211134804.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — Here are three things you need to know about the deadly Ebola outbreak's progression this week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) — The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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