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Potential Prostate Cancer Biomarker in Healthy Tissue

Cancer DNA phenotype could identify men at risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A particular DNA phenotype found in prostate tumors, healthy tissue near tumors and in the prostate glands of some healthy older men -- but not healthy younger men -- could serve as an early biomarker for men at risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published Dec. 16 in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Donald C. Malins, Ph.D., of Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle, and colleagues studied 39 prostate samples. Nine samples came from tumor tissues in prostate cancer patients (aged 50-75) with no metastasis; nine were from normal tissue in the same patients; nine were from normal tissues in younger men (aged 16-36) and 12 were from normal tissues of older men (aged 55-80).

The researchers found the same cancer DNA signature in normal tissue adjacent to tumors as the cancer DNA phenotype already identified in some healthy men's prostate glands. The DNA signature in older men contained changes mainly in the backbone and structure of DNA compared with younger men.

"The presence of the phenotype in tumors, adjacent normal cells, and in the normal prostate cells of certain older men suggests that it is a potentially critical factor in tumor development and may serve as an early biomarker for cancer risk assessment," the authors write. "Intervention to inhibit the development of the phenotype in healthy men, or to eliminate it once formed, may suppress or even prevent tumor formation."

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