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Advanced Prostate Cancer Progression Linked to Copy Number Burden

A University College London-led team considers copy number alteration patterns in hundreds of advanced prostate cancer cases. With low-coverage whole-genome sequencing, the researchers profiled copy number patterns in 688 tumor samples collected prior to androgen deprivation therapy in 300 individuals with advanced prostate cancer. Along with specific copy number gains or losses, they identified broad copy number patterns that appeared to coincide with the presence of distant metastases or clinical outcomes over a median follow up time of seven years. "We make the novel observation that the burden of copy number alteration is non-linearly associated with risk of clinical progression and death in advanced prostate cancer, with an initial sharp increase in relative risk that reaches a plateau and could represent a threshold effect," the authors report, arguing that "copy number burden should be controlled for when evaluating individual gene alterations and could be further evaluated in prognostic tests for risk stratification of aggressive disease."