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    Analysis uncovers thousands of potential cancer markers

    A newly published analysis “opens a huge opportunity for the discovery of new biomarkers” for multiple cancers, including aggressive prostate cancer, a leading urologic cancer expert says.

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    For the study, which was published online in Nature Genetics (Jan. 19, 2015), researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor analyzed the global landscape of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). They pulled together 25 independent datasets totaling 7,256 RNA sequencing samples. The data came from public sources such as The Cancer Genome Atlas project, as well as from the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology’s archives.

    Researchers led by senior author Arul M. Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, applied high-throughput RNA sequencing technology to identify more than 58,000 lncRNA genes across normal tissue and a range of common cancer types.

    “We used all of this data to decipher what the genomic landscape looks like in different tissues as well as in cancer. This opens up a Pandora’s box of all kinds of lncRNAs to investigate for biomarker potential,” Dr. Chinnaiyan said in a press release from the University of Michigan.

    The authors also identified one lncRNA, SChLAP1, as a potential biomarker for aggressive prostate cancer. SChLAP1 was more highly expressed in metastatic prostate cancer than in early-stage disease. In addition, it was found primarily in prostate cancer cells, not in other cancers or normal cells, which gives researchers hope that a noninvasive test could be developed to detect SChLAP1. Such a test could be used to help patients and their physicians make treatment decisions for early-stage prostate cancer, study authors say.

    Next: "A very promising target"

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    Benjamin P. Saylor
    Saylor is content managing editor for Urology Times.


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