New Prostate Cancer Research Indicates Rapid Accumulation of DNA Mutations

Researchers studying the behavior of prostate cancer have shed light on how the cancer develops mutations so rapidly. In contrast to other cancers that seem to progress by adding mutations one at a time, the prostate cancer samples that were analyzed showed evidence of a rapid chromosomal scramble resulting in several alterations that disrupt many genes at once. The scientists named this phenomenon “chromoplexy.”

The findings are described in “Punctuated Evolution of Prostate Cancer Genomes,” published in Cell by a large collaboration of scientists with senior authors Francesca Demichelis, Mark Rubin, and Levi Garraway. We were delighted to see that the team used Pippin Prep automated size selection as part of their sample preparation workflow in this impressive research.

For this work, the team sequenced 57 tumor genomes and their matched normal tissue, hoping to build on findings from earlier exome studies and to provide a better understanding of the onset and progression of prostate cancer. They also analyzed copy number changes across the genomes and studied the chromoplexy phenomenon they found, through which large chunks of the genomes had been jumbled in a short period of time. “These complex rearrangement events occur in the majority of prostate cancers and may commonly inactivate multiple tumor-constraining genes in a coordinated fashion,” the authors note.

They add, “Our modeling suggests that chromoplexy may induce considerable genomic derangement over relatively few events in prostate cancer and other neoplasms, supporting a model of punctuated cancer evolution.”

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