Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Book on the Genomics of PCa

Prostate Cancer by Stabiano is a recent contribution to the field of literature discussing the genetic underpinnings of this disease. It is a multi-author work by those at the University of Naples and surrounding institutions. It consists of eighteen chapters and the focus is on describing the recent efforts on various elements of the genetic bases of prostate cancer. Each chapter is prepared by one or more of the authors and covers a somewhat specific topic.

Chapter 1 is a well written summary of pathological methods of current use in diagnosing PCa and its related presentations. The materials is well presented and sets the stage for the discussions regarding the genetic elements.

Chapter 2 sets the tone of the remaining Chapters. This Chapter discusses inflammation. Its style is carried through the remainder of the book. Namely the author presents briefly the importance of inflammation and then proceeds through the most recent literature on a topic by topic basis covered in one to two sentences. The presentation is more akin to a literature survey rather than an introduction or even detailed discussion of inflammation in PCa. Inflammation has always been a concern in PCa and its study has been spotty at best. To understand inflammation and its effects one must understand what genes may be affected as well as the impacts on methylation and miRNAs. This becomes a somewhat circular analysis and the authors set up each separately and on a somewhat standalone basis.

Chapter 3 is on apoptosis. This is a key element in almost and cancer. This is a well done chapter and does try to tie together some of the elements. The especially useful addition is the discussion on non-apoptotic elements which is fairly complete and of significant interest to those seeking an expansion of this work.

Chapter 4 discusses the AR, androgen receptor, dynamics and it again follows the style of reviewing and commenting upon the current literature. Chapter 5 does likewise for neuroendocrine issues.

Chapter 6 is an excellent chapter on metastasis. It covers a great deal of the current work including for example that on ALDH1A1 and potentially ALDH1A3. The graphics are generally good and useful. Chapters 7-11 continue the discussion of pathways and their interactions.

Chapter 12 is a discussion of epigenetic factors including methylation and miRNAs. This is a powerful area of research and it would be useful to have expanded the discussion. Whether or not SNP issues fit here as well is an open debate. However, epigenetic factors are becoming significant in understanding many cancers, since they can change expression while leaving DNA in its original form. Epigenetics blocks mRNA from converting into their operative proteins. This may then become a viable path for a therapeutic.

The remaining chapters cover a wide variety of related topics. All are written in the same manner

Overall the books is an excellent source of accessing the literature. It is, however, neither an introduction for those seeking to understand all of the elements, nor is it a standalone text useful for in depth understanding. I would strongly recommend it for those studying the genetic factors associated with PCa. It is an excellent addition and expands understanding the literature. However it is not for the individual seeking a first exposure and it is not a document which attempts to provide unification of the topic.

I would like to have seen some detailed discussion on the issues associated with the loss of cell fixation by the breakdown of the extra-cellular matrix adhesion. I would also have like to see a more detailed discussion of the pathways and their interactions. So much of the book is a single sentence statement of third party work that the sense of cohesion is oftentimes missing.

Overall, however, this is definitely worth having as a reference source for those in the field.