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Searching for the Genes that Cause Aggressive Prostate Cancer

According to research, two genes are working together to drive the most aggressive form of prostate cancer. These findings can help to test and identify tumors that are likely to be aggressive and lead to developing a combination therapy for the disease.

  • The two genes known as FOXM1 and CENPF have been implicated in cancer before, but none of the studies suggested that they might synergistically work together and cause the most lethal for of prostate cancer.
  • Individually, none of the genes is significant when it comes to contributing to prostate cancer. But when activated, the genes together work to activate the pathways associated with aggressive prostate cancer.
  • This finding intends to help doctors identify those patients with aggressive prostate cancer and provide the most effective treatments available. Having the biomarkers to predict those patients that will respond to certain drugs may provide a more personalized treatment option.
  • Scientists understand that cancer is characterized by various genetic changes. But distinguishing the genes that drive cancer from those whose altered expression does not directly contribute to cancer is daunting. It is even more challenging when these genes collaborate synergistically because they have to be analyzed as pairs and not in singles.

Prostate cancer is challenging since it has a wide selection of clinical presentations, with only a few shared gene mutations. In order to find the primary genes that drive the disease, the team created a novel experimental approach where they used computational approaches to compare the gene’s regulatory networks that drive prostate cancer.

By tracing the regulatory logic behind the tumors, scientists were able to find the identical driver genes of aggressive prostate cancer and discover that they work synergistically as a pair. Their analysis identified CENPF and FOXM1 as a synergistic driver pair in aggressive prostate cancer.

The two regulators jointly control the genetic programs in the tumor hallmarks. When working together, these two genes can wreak havoc in the cancer cell and make it an aggressive tumor.