AI reveals prostate cancer is not just one disease

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Research published in Cell Genomics has shown that prostate cancer includes two different subtypes of the disease, also known as evotypes.

This discovery was made by using artificial intelligence (AI) to help unlock new discoveries about the evolution of prostate cancer and could lead to the development of new treatments.

“Our research demonstrates that prostate tumours evolve along multiple pathways, leading to two distinct disease types,” said lead researcher Dr Dan Woodcock, of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Oxford. “This understanding is pivotal as it allows us to classify tumours based on how the cancer evolves rather than solely on individual gene mutations or expression patterns.”

The study, funded by Cancer Research UK and Prostate Cancer Research, involved researchers working together as part of an international consortium, called The Pan Prostate Cancer Group, from the University of Oxford, the University of Manchester, the University of East Anglia and the Institute of Cancer Research, London.

The researchers analysed the DNA of prostate cancer samples in 159 patients using whole genome sequencing and used an AI technique known as neural networks to compare the different samples.

“This study is really important because until now, we thought that prostate cancer was just one type of disease. But it is only now, with advancements in AI, that we have been able to show that there are actually two different subtypes at play,” said Professor Colin Cooper, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

Cancer Research UK has revealed aims to develop a genetic test that can provide a more precise prognosis for each patient, allowing tailored treatment decisions.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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