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New Biomarker Helps Predict Prostate Cancer Outcomes

Higher expression of B7-H3 immune molecule linked to more than fourfold risk of progression

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- B7-H3, a protein that can inhibit T-cell anti-tumor activity, appears to play a role in the development of prostate cancer and is an independent predictor of cancer progression following surgery, according to a report published in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer Research. The biomarker may have diagnostic and therapeutic potential for the clinical management of prostate cancer and other cancers.

Timothy Roth, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues evaluated B7-H3 protein expression in tumor specimens obtained from 338 men who underwent radical prostatectomy for clinically localized prostate cancer between 1995 and 1998.

The researchers identified marked B7-H3 intensity in 67 (19.8 percent) of the specimens. They found that marked intensity was associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer progression (risk ratio, 4.42) and that moderate intensity was associated with a slightly higher risk of cancer recurrence (RR, 1.35).

"Our study supports B7-H3 as a promising marker to improve prostate cancer diagnosis, prognostic assessment and targeted treatment," the authors conclude. "Future studies, facilitated by the expression of B7-H3 on four of the most commonly studied human prostate cancer cell lines, will be required to understand mechanisms whereby B7-H3 may promote cancer progression and to ascertain the full utility of B7-H3 as a clinical marker of disease and target for therapy."

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