Scientists have decoded the complete genetic blueprint of prostate cancer tumors and have discovered new prostate cancer genes. This discovery has highlighted many defects in the genome that could affect the behavior of prostate cancer.
"This breakthrough could affect prostate cancer treatment options and may help doctors learn how to distinguish between highly aggressive tumors that need immediate treatment and tumors that can be merely be observed," said Dr. David Samadi, a prostate surgery and robotic prostatectomy expert, Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
The study, which was published in the journal Nature, was spearheaded by scientists at the Broad Institute, Weill Cornell Medical College and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Scientists studied the complete genomes of prostate tumors from seven different men and compared them to normal tissue samples to compare the differences.
What they found was that prostate cancer didn't have a large number of discrepancies, but large, significant blocks of rearrangements. Genomic rearrangements occur when a piece of DNA from one part of the genome breaks off and attaches to a different location in the genome.
Researchers found more than 100 rearrangements, much more than had been seen in any other form of cancer. The rearrangements were much more common than previously imagined, but also exhibited certain patterns. These patterns are important for prostate cancer, but they could give fundamental clues as to how the genomes got rearranged in the first place.
"Previously, scientists would never have imagined so many genomic alterations because they didn't have the right tools to search for them," said Dr. Samadi, a robotic surgery expert who perfected his SMART Surgery (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) through years of practice.
"However, this discovery is still in its infancy, so until it is proven, doctors still need to rely on existing prostate cancer screening tests and robotic prostatectomy surgery (minimally invasive surgical removal of the prostate) to fully understand the cancer type, staging, and range," explained Dr. Samadi, a urologic oncologist who has successfully performed over 3,200 robotic prostate surgeries. "It is only by removing the prostate gland is it possible to ascertain all of these factors."
Dr. Samadi's patients have excellent post-operative results that include a high cancer cure rate and minimal complications with incontinence and impotence.
There is no way to predict the behavior of cancer, how it will grow and at what rate. "Instead of distinguishing between the types of tumors we are dealing with, I say why even take the chance with prostate cancer," said Dr. Samadi, "Watching and waiting still leaves the cancer in your body and removing it completely can give a patient peace of mind and a return to quality of life. Additionally, after the prostate is removed, on average there is 40% more cancer growth than what is estimated from the biopsy."