In a new study, researchers have identified a novel prostate cancer gene fusion involving the KLK4 protein-coding gene and KLKP1 pseudogene.
This unique biomarker can be detected in the urine samples of patients with prostate cancer, offering a non-invasive means of detection.
The research was conducted by a team from the Henry Ford Health System.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States.
Advances in diagnosis, treatment, and management have resulted in increased survival rates, yet prostate cancer still remains the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among American men.
One of the major barriers to achieving successful prostate cancer control is the underlying molecular complexity of the disease itself.
Currently, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) exam is used as the standard screening method for prostate cancer.
However, elevated PSA levels are not exclusive to prostate cancer, as they can also be caused by benign prostate conditions.
As a result, an elevated PSA test can sometimes lead to an unnecessary prostate biopsy for the patient, which carries a risk of bleeding and infection.
Findings from this research may offer a more accurate and reliable method to diagnose prostate cancer.
In the study, the team screened 659 patients, which revealed that the KLK4-KLKP1 fusion gene is expressed in about 32% of prostate cancer patients, representing a distinct subset of prostate cancer cases.
The new fusion gene can be used in combination with other prostate cancer molecular markers for cancer detection.
In addition to urine samples, the fusion could also be detected in needle biopsy tissue samples by using a specific antibody.
The team says this study is exciting because it has the potential to offer a non-invasive alternative to the traditional PSA test in order to diagnose significant prostate cancers.
The discovery of new biomarkers ultimately benefits our patients, as it advances our understanding of this complex disease and how to most effectively treat it.
The lead author of the study is Nallasivam Palanisamy, Ph.D., an associate scientist in the Vattikuti Urology Institute.
The study is published in the journal Neoplasia.
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