Scientists complete genomic analysis of prostate cancer

Jul 29, 2010

A group of physician-scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has released what it is calling the most comprehensive genomic analysis of prostate cancer to date.

A group of physician-scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has released what it is calling the most comprehensive genomic analysis of prostate cancer to date.

"Genomic studies in other cancer types have resulted in new drug targets and strategies to classify patients into clinically meaningful subgroups that improve treatment decisions," said senior author Charles Sawyers, MD, chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York. "This first-ever database of its type brings us one step closer to achieving that goal in prostate cancer.

"We have used all of our expertise and resources to complete a large-scale study of the changes in the genomes of patients’ prostate cancers."

The team, composed of members of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, urology, medicine and genitourinary oncology services, and pathology, computational biology, and statistics departments, used an integrated, comprehensive approach to analyze 218 primary and metastatic samples and 12 cell lines. All samples were procured from patients treated by radical prostatectomy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

The analysis, published online in the journal Cancer Cell (2010; 18:11-22), revealed a much higher frequency of alterations in the androgen receptor pathway than previously suspected. Also, the pattern of DNA copy number alterations identified defined subsets of low- and high-risk disease beyond what is revealed by Gleason score, the researchers reported.

"This data clarifies the role of several known cancer pathways and provides important clues into others," Dr. Sawyers said. "We have gained insight into the importance of androgen receptor status and why some men respond to hormone therapy and others don’t."