Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the US have identified a signature of four molecular markers that can be used to predict if an existing prostate cancer is likely to remain dormant or spread to other parts of the body. Researchers identified the markers – Pten, Smad4, SPP1, and CyclinD1 – using computational biology techniques to study gene activity in mouse prostate cancer cells. In a study involving hundreds of patients, the four-gene/protein signature more accurately predicted those who would die from the metastatic spread of prostate cancer compared to conventional methods. Although the standard test for evaluating prostate cancer’s aggressiveness, known as the Gleason score, is accurate 60-70percent of the time, the new method was found to be accurate 83percent of the time. In addition, a combination of the standard test and four-gene signature produced an accuracy of approximately 90percent. According to the researchers, the test will enable the doctors and patients to take appropriate treatment decisions and avoid unnecessarily aggressive interventions.
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