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Have Researchers Found a Biomarker To Signal a More Aggressive Form of Prostate Cancer?

DENVER -- Researchers say they have identified a biomarker that indicates a more aggressive form of prostate cancer. Fox Chase Cancer Center's chairman of radiation oncology, Alan Pollack, MD, PhD, presented the findings today at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Denver, Colo.

"Staging factors for prostate cancer such as PSA and the Gleason score are extremely useful in predicting prostate cancer outcome," explained Pollack. "However, new biomarkers hold promise in strengthening our ability to predict response to treatment. By identifying the more virulent forms of prostate cancer, we may be able to tailor treatment or develop therapies to target the abnormalities identified."

In the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group-sponsored study (RTOG 92-02), Pollack and his colleagues show that the overexpression of a protein called MDM2 is a strong and independent predictor that the prostate cancer will metastasize beyond the prostate gland and indicates an increased chance of death from the disease.

The study involved 469 men treated with radiation and short- and long-term androgen deprivation therapy. The median follow-up was 70.5 months. An immunohistochemical analysis was conducted on prostate tissue to determine the amount of MDM2 in the prostate cancer cells.

While other biomarkers were associated with biochemical failure, distant metastasis or overall mortality, MDM2 was consistently associated with all three outcomes. MDM2 was associated with a doubling of distant metastasis (10 to 20 percent) and a nearly 10 percent reduction in five-year survival.

In addition to Pollack, other authors of the study include Michelle DeSilvio, American College Of Radiology, Philadelphia, Pa.; Li-Yan Khor, Tahseen Al-Saleem and Gerald E. Hanks (retired), all of Fox Chase Cancer Center; M. Elizabeth Hammond, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City; David Grignon and Mingxin Che, Wayne State, Detroit, Mich.; Marvin Rotman, SUNY, Brooklyn, NY; Varagur Venkatesan, University Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada; Roger Byardt, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisc.; and Howard Sandler, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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