Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Genetics reveals deceptively 'normal' looking prostate cells

Prostate cellimage courtesy
Cancer Research UK
CANCER DIGEST – Mar. 3, 2015 – Researchers in Britain have found that normal looking prostate cells often harbor genetic mutations that can develop into cancer. The finding may prompt new ways to treat the disease.

Prostate cancer is often made up of many small tumors with different genetic fingerprints, and it is still unclear what causes these different tumors to develop in the prostate at the same time. But this new research sheds new light on how that happens.

Professor Rosalind Eeles at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, lead author of the study, using genetic techniques found that mutations occur in cells near a tumor before the cell’s appearance indicates cancer. Their study appears in the current issue of Nature Genetics.

“When we examine the cells that lie close to prostate cancer under the microscope, we look at their shape, size and relationship to surrounding cells. If everything appears normal then we may assume that we’re looking at healthy tissue,” Eeles said in a press release. “But thanks to genetic sequencing we’ve shown that some of these normal-looking cells are already carrying genetic mistakes that are linked to the cancer nearby.

Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK, says better detection of precancerous tissues could lead to new approaches to treating tumors and surrounding tissue. “We’re finding new ways to detect precancerous cells, and this will give us the tools to prevent them becoming a threat in the future,” he said.

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