Inside each of our cells, DNA wraps itself around an important set of proteins known as histones. Specific modifications of histones are linked to changes in gene expression, and have been found to be altered in cancer. In a paper in the 30 June 2005 issue of Nature (Vol. 435, No. 7046, pp. 1262-1266), a team of researchers led by Siavash Kurdistani take a big-picture view of histone modifications in prostate cancer and show that the modification patterns can be used to predict clinical outcome in prostate cancer patients.
They examined tissue samples from prostate cancer patients for overall changes in histone modification. Combining the patterns of these changes was sufficient to predict the risk of cancer recurrence after removing the primary tumour from patients with lower grade prostate cancer. The relative ease of detecting of bulk histone modifications in cancer samples suggests that these findings could be translated into new prognostic markers in the clinic.
Siavash K. Kurdistani (University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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