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Protein Signals Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Identifying Stat5 may help doctors better target treatment, study says

FRIDAY, Aug. 19, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Testing prostate tumor tissue for activated Stat5 protein can help identify men with an aggressive form of the cancer.

That's the conclusion of a study in the Aug. 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

Researchers at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., analyzed prostate cancer tissue from 357 men and matched the Stat5 levels in those samples to the men's outcomes.

They found that the presence of Stat5 protein in the nucleus of prostate cancer cells was a significant predictor of when men would develop a recurrence of aggressive prostate cancer years after their initial treatment for the disease.

When activated, Stat5 signals cancer cells to grow and survive, the researchers said.

Testing for Stat5 levels in prostate cancer patients may help doctors better target treatment, the study authors said.

"Most patients diagnosed with prostate cancer have slow-growing tumors that don't need aggressive therapy, but doctors do not have a way to identify the few men whose cancer is potentially dangerous. The result is that many patients are over-treated," study principal investigator Dr. Marja Nevalainen, an assistant professor in the department of oncology, said in a prepared statement.

"If future studies with Stat5 continue to show that it can help in predicting disease outcome, then we can test tumor biopsy samples for Stat5 and tailor treatment accordingly," Nevalainen said.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Georgetown University Medical Center, news release, Aug. 15, 2005
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