New Prostate Cancer Marker Found
Marker Is a Protein That May Predict Aggressive Prostate Cancer
Aug. 15, 2007 -- Scientists today announced that they have spotted a
potential marker of aggressive prostate cancer.
The marker, called B7-H3, is a protein that's involved in the body's immune
Mayo Clinic doctors including Timothy Roth, MD, report that B7-H3 is more
abundant in prostate cancers than in normal prostate tissue and is especially
plentiful in aggressive prostate cancers.
Roth's team tested prostate tissue from 338 men with prostate cancer who had
their prostates surgically removed between 1995 and 1998.
All of the men had B7-H3 in their prostate tumors. They also had B7-H3 in
normal prostate tissue, to a lesser extent. The researchers tracked the men's
prostate cancer for up to nine years.
During that time, prostate cancer worsened in 93 of the patients. Those
patients generally had higher B7-H3 levels in their prostate tumors than men
whose prostate cancer didn't worsen during the study period.
The researchers suggest that B7-H3 may help doctors gauge whether a patient
has aggressive prostate cancer that needs early, aggressive treatment.
B7-H3 may also make a good target for new prostate cancer drugs, according
to Roth and colleagues.
But don't expect that to happen right away. First, scientists must learn
exactly what B7-H3 does and how to target it in prostate tumors without
affecting healthy cells.
The study appears in the journal Cancer Research.