Variations in structural proteins found in the nucleus of prostate
cells may indicate whether a cell will become cancerous, according
to a Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (PCI) investigator.
Robert Getzenberg, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology, Surgery,
Medicine and Pharmacology at PCI, presented his findings at the
annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Las Vegas.
Dr. Getzenberg's research focuses on nuclear alterations that
are prevalent in prostate cancer cells and are commonly used as
a pathological marker for cancer.
Researchers looked at structural proteins within the cell's nucleus.
These proteins form the "scaffolding framework" of the
nucleus, and are involved in DNA organization. "When we started
looking at the nuclear matrix proteins in the cells of prostate
tissue, we found that there is a difference between normal and
cancer cells," Dr. Getzenberg said.
Variations in nuclear matrix proteins may be a useful tool for
diagnosing early stages of prostate cancer, and may offer new
strategies for treatment, according to the investigators.
Dr. Getzenberg and his colleagues identified proteins that were
present only in the normal prostate and were missing in both prostate
cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH); proteins found
only in the prostate cancer cells and missing in the normal prostate
and BPH; and proteins that appeared in both normal and BPH samples
but were absent from prostate cancers.
"Differences in nuclear matrix proteins may be a fundamental
cause of, or a major contributor to, the pattern of altered gene
expression identified in prostate cancer," Dr. Getzenberg