Moffitt Researchers Help Lead Efforts to Find New Genetic Links to Prostate Cancer

“Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, including Center Director Thomas A. Sellers, Ph.D., M.P.H., Jong Park, Ph.D. and Hui-Yi Lin, Ph.D., have discovered 23 new regions of the genome that influence the risk for developing prostate cancer, according to a study published Sept. 14 in Nature Genetics.

“Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in American men. About 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with the disease in his lifetime. Family history is the strongest risk factor. A man with one close relative, a brother or father with prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease as a man with no family history of prostate cancer.

“This study brings the number of genetic variants linked to prostate cancer to 100. Testing for those variants can identify men with a risk of the disease that is almost six times higher than average.”


Genomic Analysis Identified Favorable Treatment Option After Prostate Cancer Surgery

The gist: Doctors can sometimes make more personalized treatment decisions based on distinct genetic characteristics of a patient’s tumor. A recent study found that tumor genetics could help prostate cancer patients decide what treatment(s) to take after radical prostatectomy. Specifically, it could help determine which patients might benefit from post-surgery radiation treatment. This could also help patients who don’t need radiation avoid its potentially serious side effects.

“A genomic classifier may be effective in predicting the risk of biochemical failure and distant metastasis in post-surgery radiation in patients with prostate cancer who have undergone radical prostatectomy, according to recent findings.

“These findings suggest utility for a genomic classifier in deciding a patient’s course of treatment after radical prostatectomy, particularly in terms of identifying which patients will benefit from additional radiation.

“ ‘We are moving away from treating everyone the same,’ researcher Robert Den, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology and cancer biology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, said in a press release. ‘Genomic tools are letting us gauge which cancers are more aggressive and should be treated earlier with radiation, and which ones are unlikely to benefit from additional therapy.’ ”


Predicting Prostate Cancer: Test Identifies New Methods for Treatment

“A genetic discovery out of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is leading to a highly accurate test for aggressive prostate cancer and identifies new avenues for treatment.

“The analysis, published today in the American Journal of Pathology, found that prostate cancer patients who carry certain genetic mutations have a 91 percent chance of their cancer recurring. This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Cancer Society and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI).

” ‘Being able to say, with such certainty, that a patient is nearly guaranteed to see a recurrence of his prostate cancer means that doctors and patients can elect to be more aggressive in treating the cancer, knowing that the benefits likely outweigh the risks,’ said Jian-Hua Luo, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, Pitt School of Medicine and member of UPCI. ‘Eventually, this could lead to a cure for prostate cancer through genetic therapy. With this discovery, we’re at the tip of the iceberg in terms of possibilities for improving patient outcomes.’ “


BRCA2 Mutations Herald Poor Prognosis in Screen-Detected Prostate Cancer

Editor’s note: You may have heard about the BRCA2 mutation, which can increase a person’s risk for breast cancer. Studies have also shown that it can increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer. Studies have also shown that prostate cancer patients with BRCA2 mutations generally do not survive as long as prostate cancer patients without BRCA2 mutations. A new study explored this more in depth by looking at survival rates for BRCA2+ men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer after standard screening. These men did indeed have shorter survival times than prostate cancer patients without BRCA2 mutations. The researchers say these patients might “benefit from additional therapies, such as with cis-platinum or a PARP [poly ADP-ribose polymerase] inhibitor.”

“Among men with prostate cancer detected on screening, survival among those with a mutation in the BRCA2 gene is much poorer than in those without such a mutation, researchers report.

“The findings suggest that BRCA2 mutation carriers may warrant additional treatments to improve their prognosis, say Steven Narod (Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario) and fellow authors writing in the British Journal of Cancer.

“BRCA2 mutations are known to confer an increased risk for developing prostate cancer and also to be associated with more aggressive tumours. However, the effect of BRCA2 mutations status on mortality in the setting of screen-detected cancers is unclear.”


Foundation Medicine: Partners with the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute for Innovative Prospective Study Linking the Genomic Drivers of Lung Cancer in Young Adults with Treatment Options

“Foundation Medicine, Inc. (NASDAQ: FMI) today announced that it has partnered with the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI) and Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) to launch a first of its kind, multi-center, international prospective study, the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer. This study aims to better inform treatment decisions in young adults with lung cancer by leveraging FoundationOne®, the only commercially available and validated comprehensive genomic profile, to look beyond the genomic alterations commonly associated with lung cancer and identify the novel and unique alterations that present in lung cancers in young adults. This insight, in combination with the expertise of leading academic institutions and peer-reviewed literature, will be applied to determine more effective treatment options and tailor therapies precisely for these distinct and underserved patients.

“In 2014, 224,000 new cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed; 3,700 of these are expected to occur in patients under the age of 45. Eighty percent of new lung cancer diagnoses are made in former or never-smokers, and three percent of cancer diagnoses made in patients younger than 45 will be lung cancer1.

“ ‘Lung cancer presents in a unique manner in young adults, who often do not exhibit the characteristic symptoms and signs of a typical patient with lung cancer,’ said Steven Young, President and COO of ALCMI. ‘Despite an environment of rapidly expanding treatment options available for lung cancer, a lack of understanding of comprehensive testing for the molecular drivers of the disease specifically in young adults restricts the effective treatments available to patients at a tragically early stage in their lives. Through this initial study, we hope to address this gap in knowledge and access, and lay the groundwork to routinely identify more effective treatment options for these patients.’ ”


Two New Genes Involved in the More Aggressive Prostate Cancer

“A study by the Columbia University Nova York, in collaboration with the Catalan Institute of Oncology , Belvitge Biomedical Research Institute (ICO-IDIBELL) has identified two new genes that lead to more aggressive forms of prostate cancer. The work done by Alvaro Aytes under the direction of Cory Abate-Shen, director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Columbia University, has been published in the latest issue of Cancer Cell.”

Editor’s note: More and more, oncologists are using tumor genetics to better understand and treat cancer. Learn more here.


Enlisting a Computer to Battle Cancers, One by One

“Once you decode a tumor’s genome, what’s next? Oncologists hope that IBM’s Watson will help them find drugs for patients’ particular brain cancer mix…

“When Robert B. Darnell was a graduate student in the early 1980s, he spent a year sequencing a tiny fragment of DNA. Now Dr. Darnell is an oncologist and the president of the New York Genome Center, where the DNA-sequencing machines can decode his grad-school fragment in less than a ten-thousandth of a second.”


Enlisting a Computer to Battle Cancers, One by One

“Once you decode a tumor’s genome, what’s next? Oncologists hope that IBM’s Watson will help them find drugs for patients’ particular brain cancer mix…

“When Robert B. Darnell was a graduate student in the early 1980s, he spent a year sequencing a tiny fragment of DNA. Now Dr. Darnell is an oncologist and the president of the New York Genome Center, where the DNA-sequencing machines can decode his grad-school fragment in less than a ten-thousandth of a second.”


Enlisting a Computer to Battle Cancers, One by One

“Once you decode a tumor’s genome, what’s next? Oncologists hope that IBM’s Watson will help them find drugs for patients’ particular brain cancer mix…

“When Robert B. Darnell was a graduate student in the early 1980s, he spent a year sequencing a tiny fragment of DNA. Now Dr. Darnell is an oncologist and the president of the New York Genome Center, where the DNA-sequencing machines can decode his grad-school fragment in less than a ten-thousandth of a second.”