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UCLA researchers discover potential of DNA markers to predict prostate cancer growth

Paul Boutros, the director of cancer data science at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the study’s senior author. Researchers from the Jonsson Center worked alongside researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Manchaster. (Courtesy of Milo Mitchell/UCLA)

By Julia Shapero

Oct. 8, 2019 12:28 a.m.

UCLA researchers have identified markers in DNA that could predict prostate cancer growth, according to a UCLA research brief.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine on Monday, suggested that predicting the growth of an individual’s prostate cancer may depend on DNA inherited from their parents.

Researchers from the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, alongside researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Manchester, found 1,178 biomarkers in men’s genomes that could predict the growth of prostate cancer.

Variations in an individual’s DNA make it easier or harder for tumors to use methylation to activate or inactivate cancer genes. DNA methylation is a process that allows for cells to turn genes on or off. Tumors can take control of DNA methylation to help cancer cells grow and spread further, according to the brief.

The researchers examined tumors from 589 men in which the cancer had not spread beyond the prostate, looking for patterns where people with particular variations in their DNA consistently had more or less methylation. From the data, they were able to identify variations that contribute to tumor growth.

Paul Boutros, the director of cancer data science at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the study’s senior author. Boutros is also a professor of urology and human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine and a member of the UCLA Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research.

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Julia Shapero | Assistant News editor
Shapero is a senior staff News reporter. She was previously an assistant News editor in the National News & Higher Education beat. Shapero is a fourth-year political science student who enjoys covering national and statewide news.
Shapero is a senior staff News reporter. She was previously an assistant News editor in the National News & Higher Education beat. Shapero is a fourth-year political science student who enjoys covering national and statewide news.
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