Researchers in the University of Michigan have discovered a biomarker that may help differentiate between aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancer. The protein known as RUNX2 can change its structure to activate specific genes in prostate cancer cells. One change in the RUNX2 protein known as phosphorylation may be associated with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
We have known for a long time that a central dilemma in prostate cancer treatment is trying to work out which men have disease which is a threat to the quality or duration of their life and therefore needs to be treated aggressively, and which men have disease which will run a gentler non-aggressive course and where the side effects and complications of treatment may outweigh the potential harm from the disease itself. Although this recent discovery is many years away from being used clinically it is an exciting development in the on-going search for new ways to differentiate different types of prostate cancer.