November 28, 2006 10:14 ET


Significant finding indicates progress towards the development of a genetic test to evaluate prostate cancer risk

Attention: Health/Medical Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Science Editor TORONTO/ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 28, 2006) - In a study highlighted by the American Association of Cancer Research and published this month in Clinical Cancer Research, Sunnybrook researchers suggest a role for the prostate-specific gene KLK2 in prostate cancer susceptibility and elevated cancer risk associated with increased serum levels of a prostate cancer tumour marker, human kallikrein-2 or hK2, produced by the secretory glands of the prostate.

'These findings are an important step in the research and development of a genetic test at biopsy that in the future will help clinicians predict prostate cancer risk with greater accuracy,' says Dr. Robert Nam, lead investigator, urologist and urologic oncologist at Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook.

The study examined the significance of KLK2 variants or SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). Nam and the team sequenced the KLK2 gene among 20 prostate cancer patients and identified five SNPs, which were then genoypted among 1,251 men who underwent prostate biopsy at the mean age of 65.4. When the five SNPs were combined in a haplotype analysis, findings indicated patients with the variant alleles had a significantly high risk for having prostate cancer. This haplotype was also significantly associated with high hK2 serum levels.

'Earlier assessment of patients will lead to more proactive monitoring and management. It is our hope that this research will lead to reduced prostate biopsies and the identity of high risk patients that much sooner,' says Nam, a urologic oncologist and researcher at University of Toronto.

In 2006, an estimated 20,700 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. An estimated 4,200 will die of the disease.

This research was generously supported by National Cancer Institute of Canada and the Terry Fox Foundation.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is transforming health care through the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff members who provide compassionate and innovative patient focused care. An internationally recognized leader in women's health, academic research and education and an affiliation with the University of Toronto distinguishes Sunnybrook as one of Canada's premier health sciences centres. Sunnybrook specializes in caring for newborns, adults and the elderly, treating and preventing cancer, heart problems, orthopaedic and arthritic conditions and traumatic injuries.

Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre (TSRCC) at Sunnybrook is one of North America's largest and leading comprehensive cancer centres providing care to over 10,000 new patients every year. TSRCC offers a full range of outpatient and inpatient treatment and supportive care programs, is a Cancer Care Ontario partner and is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
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