Research Highlight

Molecular profile of Indian prostate cancer patients

doi:10.1038/nindia.2015.38 Published online 25 March 2015

Researchers claim to have undertaken the first ever molecular characterization of prostate cancer patients from the Indian sub-continent1. The molecular profiling data could help clinicians diagnose and surgically treat prostate cancer patients as also select appropriate therapeutic interventions for this population.

Molecular stratification of prostate cancer based on genetic aberrations are useful in prognosis and diagnosis of the disease. Patients of prostate cancer frequently show gene rearrangements involving ETS (E26 transformation-specific) transcription factors and frequent pathogenetic somatic events. Such rearrangements have been earlier reported in Caucasian patients. However, the occurrence of these gene rearrangements in Indian patients has remained largely understudied.

The researchers, therefore, set out to study the prevalence of such ETS and RAF (rapidly accelerated fibrosarcoma) kinase gene rearrangements, SPINK1 (serine peptidase inhibitor, Kazal type 1) over-expression, and PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog) deletion in a multi-centre study. They studied 121 prostate cancer specimens from four major medical institutions in India. The researchers used immunohistochemistry, RNA in situ hybridization and fluorescence in situ hybridization for sectioning the tissues and for molecular profiling.

They found that ETS gene rearrangement and SPINK1 over-expression patterns in the North Indian population studied were largely similar to Caucasian populations but differed from Japanese and Chinese prostate cancer patients. "This will help clinicians define better protocols for treatment of Indian prostate cancer patients," says one of the researchers Bushra Ateeq from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.


1. Ateeq, B. et al. Molecular profiling of ETS and non-ETS aberrations in prostate cancer patients from northern India. Prostate. (2015) doi: 10.1002/pros.22989