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UTHSC prostate cancer researchers publish editorial on PSA gene study

San Antonio (July 16, 2003) — The July 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) carried an editorial by Ian M. Thompson, M.D., professor of surgery and chief of urology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC), and three co-authors. The JNCI invited the San Antonio group to comment on a study with ramifications for the role of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test in prostate cancer.

In a study of 409 men, researchers at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine found three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the promoter region of the PSA gene. SNPs are common, but minute, variations that occur in human DNA and can be used to track inheritance in families. In the study, these polymorphisms were associated with increases in serum PSA levels in the men.

"PSA has revolutionized the detection of prostate cancer," Dr. Thompson said. "From this study, it appears that the test may function differently in different men. This observation makes efforts like those of the UTHSC Prostate Cancer Program that much more important — to individualize the detection of cancer for individual men."

Co-authors of the editorial were Robin J. Leach, Ph.D., Brad H. Pollock, Ph.D., and Susan L. Naylor, Ph.D., all of the Health Science Center.

Contact: Will Sansom or Lucie Portela