American Association for Cancer Research

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Inflammation Marker may Guide Prognosis for Prostate Cancer


September 27, 2011

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• Current methods often fail to separate lethal from non-lethal cancers.
• Levels of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) identify lethal cancers.
• Men with PIN were 89 percent more likely to die of prostate cancer.

PHILADELPHIA — Current methods of prostate cancer detection, like the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, often fail to identify which cancers will prove fatal and which cancers will remain benign until a patient dies of other causes.

“We are in need of better markers that distinguish between aggressive and indolent disease in this population,” said Jennifer R. Rider, Sc.D., an instructor in medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.

In a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, Rider and colleagues suggested that levels of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) could allow for a more precise prognosis.

The researchers evaluated men with localized prostate cancer diagnosed following a surgical procedure to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia. Of these men, 228 died of prostate cancer and 387 were diagnosed with prostate cancer, but were still alive after 10 years. Those with PIN were 89 percent more likely to die of prostate cancer.

Even after accounting for age, Gleason score, year of diagnosis, inflammation and type of focal atrophy present, PIN still managed to independently predict the lethality of a given tumor. There was also a suggestion that the degree of chronic inflammation adjacent to the tumor could predict lethal outcome.

“Identifying features surrounding the tumor that can predict prognosis, such as the presence of PIN or inflammation, can improve our understanding of the biology of aggressive prostate cancer and help to guide clinical decision-making,” said Rider.

The study was funded by the United States Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Swedish Cancer Society.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Discovery; Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals received 20 percent of the total number of citations given to oncology journals in 2010. The AACR also publishes Cancer Today, a magazine for cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers which provides practical knowledge and new hope for cancer survivors. A major goal of the AACR is to educate the general public and policymakers about the value of cancer research in improving public health, the vital importance of increases in sustained funding for cancer research, and the need for national policies that foster innovation and progress in the field.

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Jeremy Moore
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