'Genetic signature' breakthrough in prostate cancer tests

A new DNA test can identify men at high risk of recurring prostate cancer with almost 80% accuracy, say scientists.

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How scientists found a new test for prostate cancer

In order to develop a new DNA test that can identify men at high risk of recurring prostate cancer, scientists analysed biopsy tissue samples taken from 126 treated men with the disease who were thought to be at intermediate risk of their cancer returning.

  • Researchers then looked at each patient's whole genetic code, searching for missing, extra, or irregular sections of DNA so they could identify signature patterns linked to a high or low risk of recurring cancer
  • The test was used to predict outcomes for a second group of 150 patients who had their prostate tumours removed by surgery.
  • A secondary study found that tumours affected by hypoxia - starved of oxygen - were most associated with worse survival
  • Men with low levels of genetic changes and low hypoxia had the best outcomes, with 93% lasting five years without their cancer recurring
  • Only 49% of men with high levels of genetic alterations and high hypoxia escaped a cancer recurrence for five years.

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