Gene fusions and prostate cancer

According to a report in the Washington Post earlier today, based on a letter to the editor published in Nature, researchers at the University of Michigan have shown that gene fusion (a process in which selected DNA sequences fuse together when their chromosomes trade places with each other) can occur in prostate cancer. Such gene fusion mutations have (to date) only been observed in cancer cell lines, and may serve as a marker for diagnosing cancer or as a target for future treatment.

Recurrent gene fusions, typically associated with hematologic malignancies and rare bone and soft-tissue tumors, have recently been described in common solid tumors.

What is not yet known is whether these gene fusions actually drive the development of cancer, or whether they are simply a concomitant effect of whatever is really driving the cancer.

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