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According to new research, which was funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, testing for a protein that may be able to indicate how severe a person's prostate cancer will be.
The study showed that the protein is responsible for keeping cells tightly connected and preserving the tissue's structure, which helps prevent cancerous cells from spreading. Not only does this indicate how lethal the prostate cancer is, but it can also be a predictor for its recurrence.
"Our findings indicate that the loss of β2-syntrophin at cell-to-cell connections in the prostate is an indicator of prostate cancer progression and patients with reduced levels of this protein at these cell-to-cell connections are more likely to have a recurrence of their cancer after treatment," said research author Natalie Mack, M.D.
The authors also noted that further research on the protein should be conducted so healthcare providers can tell the risk level of patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, so they can be treated effectively.
Prostate cancer risk factors
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), African American men, men who are older than 60 and men who have an immediate relative with prostate cancer are at a high risk of being diagnosed with the disease. Other at-risk groups include men who abuse alcohol, farmers, men who eat a high-fat diet and painters.
The NIH notes that prostate cancer can be diagnosed with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test the severity of prostate cancer is gauged with a Gleason grade, which is based off of the imaging of a biopsied tumor. The three levels of severity are low-grade prostate cancer, intermediate prostate cancer and high-grade prostate cancer.
There are a variety of treatments for the cancer and the Gleason score partially influences which one is used. These include surgery, radiation therapy and hormone therapy.
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