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New predictors of prostate cancer risk

Sep. 17, 2020, 8:30 AM

by Sarah E. Glass

Although prostate cancer can be detected early by measuring prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the blood, additional biomarkers are needed to assess risk for the disease. 

Jirong Long, PhD, and colleagues have developed methodologies for identifying new DNA methylation biomarkers that may predict cancer risk.  

With an international group of researchers including Lang Wu, PhD, at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Long’s group recently identified 759 methylation sites that are associated with prostate cancer risk, including 15 methylation sites located at genomic regions that had not been reported previously for prostate cancer. 

Reporting in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers also found evidence that 25 DNA methylation sites may influence prostate cancer risk by regulating the expression of 14 candidate prostate cancer genes. 

Using multi-omics data from multiple sources, they identified consistent associations between DNA methylation, gene expression and prostate cancer risk. Identifying genetically predicted DNA methylation biomarkers could be useful in assessing risk of this common malignancy, they concluded.

This study used resources at the Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education (ACCRE) at Vanderbilt University, supported by National Institutes of Health grant OD023680. 

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