(HealthDay News) — Biomarkers have been identified that vary with breast cancer progression, and telomere length correlates with risk of aggressive prostate cancer, according to two studies presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held from Oct. 27 to 30 in National Harbor, Md.

Marina A. Guvakova, Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues developed and applied a new quantitative imaging-based uniplex method to measure in-tissue protein expression in 42 histologically normal, 71 cancer in situ (with/without associated invasion), and 98 invasive breast cancer samples. 

The researchers found that in the in situ and invasive breast cancer groups, the levels of insulin-like growth factor I receptor and Ras oncogene-like protein 1 were significantly higher than in the normal group. Oncoprotein Vav2 levels were similar in the normal and in situ groups, but were significantly lower in the invasive breast cancer group.

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Elizabeth Platz, Sc.D., M.P.H., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues measured relative telomere length in 441 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and 421 controls. The researchers found that, compared with men with longer telomeres, those with shorter leukocyte telomeres had a significantly increased risk of aggressive disease (odds ratio [OR], 2.29). The correlation persisted after multivariate adjustment (OR, 2.36) and was stronger for ever smokers (OR, 4.47). There was no association for telomere length with total prostate cancer risk.

“We don’t yet know why having short telomeres in blood leukocytes seems to be associated with risk of aggressive prostate cancer,” Platz said in a statement.