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Focus on the Prostate

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In Nature this week, a team led by researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School says it has identified a new genetic subtype of prostate cancer, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. The team sequenced the exomes of 50 lethal, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancers obtained at autopsy, and identified mutations in the CHD1 gene in 8 percent of the samples, GEN says. These mutations, the researchers found, were almost always associated with negative ETS gene family fusion status, which suggests the existence of a new molecular subtype of prostate cancer.

In a separate study published in Nature Genetics, a team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, the Broad Institute, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report they also have discovered a new molecular subtype of prostate cancer, says Daily News and Analysis. This subtype, characterized by mutations in the SPOP gene, accounts for about 15 percent of prostate cancers, the team says, and the mutations have so far only been found in prostate cancers. "They suspect that the mutations change the way cells tag proteins for degradation, leading to an accumulation of dangerous molecules, which drive the growth of cancer," DNA says.

Cancer Minute's sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on these studies here.

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