Using a novel bioinformatics approach, researchers found that the majority of prostate cancers carry a specific gene fusion, a common feature of blood cancers but relatively rare in solid tumors, according to this week'sScience. A team led by Arul Chinnaiyan found that in over 75% of prostate cancer samples, the regulatory region of the TMPRSS2 gene is fused to a gene encoding an ETS transcription factor, either ERG or ETV1, causing over-expression of the factor and, in turn, cancerous growth.

"There was a general consensus that the mechanism [of] translocation was not [found] in the major types of epithelial tumors," said Stephen Baylin at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, Md., who did not participate in this study. "This is a big sort of hint that functional translocations are much more common in solid tumors. That's a fascinating step."

Chinnaiyan's lab at the University of Michigan Medical...

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