Specific protein in prostate tissue increases risk of developing prostate cancer
Men whose biopsied prostate tissue contains a specific protein called ERG have a significantly increased chance of developing prostate cancer, say researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College. This discovery may better guide physicians on how to monitor and proceed with patients deemed to be at risk for developing the disease. ERG is an abnormal combination of two genes that constantly signal cancer cells to grow.
Researchers at Weill Cornell analyzed the biopsies of 461 men in the study. ERG was found in 11 percent of the biopsies. Investigators monitored these patients for three years. They discovered that the number of patients who developed invasive (metastatic) cancer increased with time. In the first year, 15 percent of patients developed the disease. The amount increased to 37 percent in the second year and 53 percent in the third year.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer will have been diagnosed in 2013.