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Gene Fusion Research in Prostate Cancer Advances on Two Fronts

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2023

Knowledge about gene fusions in prostate cancer—including potential novel candidates and the exploration of the fusions’ role as prognostic markers for disease progression—has moved forward with the results of work by Kristin Reiche, PhD, MSc, of Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues. Using a fusion detection algorithm, they analyzed 630 patients in four cohorts with varying traits regarding sequencing protocols, sample conservation, and prostate cancer risk group, the team wrote in BMC Cancer. The aim of the research was to push the needle forward on improving strategies for stratifying early clinical decisions for patients with prostate cancer.

One significant finding was that “the number of gene fusions detected in a patient sample was significantly associated with the time to biochemical recurrence in two of the four cohorts (log-rank test, P < .05 for both cohorts),” the authors stated, adding that this was also confirmed after adjusting the prognostic model for Gleason Grading Groups (Cox regression, P  < .05). These quantitative correlations were moderately strong, so “further validation and assessment of clinical value [are] required before potential application…, [and] the overall number of gene fusions as [a] surrogate marker for the degree of genomic instability is not [yet] a suitable parameter for inclusion in statistical models for prostate cancer prognosis.”

Furthermore, their analyses identified two potential novel gene fusions specific to prostate cancer—MBTTPS2,LoXNC01::SMS and AMACR::AMACR—which were detected in all four studied cohorts. The fusions had not previously been described in the literature. Dr. Reiche and co-investigators said this is “compelling evidence for the validity of these fusions and their relevance in prostate cancer.”

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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