Markers for prostate cancer

Scientists at Yale and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven have reported a link between molecular markers and higher death rates from prostate cancer. The paper appears in the May 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Amidst an ongoing debate in the medical community over whether screening and early diagnosis of prostate cancer save lives, or whether the aggressiveness of the tumor is more relevant in determining survival, the scientists studied tissue from biopsies of more than 1,000 veterans diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1991 and 1995. They found that abnormal expression of the Bcl-2 gene or of the p53 tumor suppressor gene increased the likelihood of patients’ death from prostate cancer.

“Our results expand the current ability of clinicians to evaluate the aggressiveness of prostate cancer,” said lead author John Concato, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine. “Future research can help to define specific biologic mechanisms and develop new therapies.”

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