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    ZBTB38: a new biomarker of prostate cancer

    A study of Benoit Miotto team

    ZBTB38 expression levels in prostate cancer predicts cancer relapse 


    The group « Epigenetics, DNA replication and cancer », in a study published in Cancers MDPI, reports that monitoring ZBTB38 expression level in primary prostate cancer tumours may help to discriminate tumours more likely to metastasise, as well as to detect tumours targetable with doxorubicin-based therapies. 

    Prostate cancer is the second most frequent cancer in men and the sixth leading cause of death from cancer in men worldwide. While some men live with localised prostate tumours that slowly progress, others have localised tumours that progress to advanced stages and die of highly aggressive and metastatic disease. The Classical classification uses clinical and pathological factors to stratified low-, intermediate- and high-risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. However, this classification still faces failure to accurately predict prostate cancer progression and patient outcome. Identification of new tools to help to better classify prostate tumours are thus necessary. 

    A genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified a polymorphism in ZBTB38 associated with a higher risk for men to develop prostate cancer. Therefore, the group took advantage of 9 publicly available cohorts of prostate cancer patients, reporting the molecular and clinical data, to study the relevance of ZBTB38 expression in localised and metastatic prostate cancer.


    The study shows that ZBTB38 mRNA expression is decreased in localised prostate tumours and further in metastatic tumours. The low expression of ZBTB38 correlates with prostate cancer aggressiveness, genomic instability, and the recurrence of cancer. Interestingly, the group showed that ZBTB38 is an independent marker of prognosis. Intriguingly, the group also identified a gene-expression-signature associated with ZBTB38-low tumours indicative of a higher susceptibility to the chemotherapeutic compound, doxorubicin. 


    The findings suggest that measuring ZBTB38 mRNA levels in tumours may help better anticipate chromosomal instability in localised tumours, cancer aggressiveness and doxorubicin efficacy and improve patient care.




    de Dieuleveult M, Marchal C, Jouinot A, Letessier A, Miotto B. Molecular and Clinical Relevance of ZBTB38 Expression Levels in Prostate Cancer. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Apr 29;12(5). pii: E1106. doi: 10.3390/cancers12051106. PMID: 32365491


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