Home » Labs » Bobby Zhou’s Lab Research Summary

Bobby Zhou’s Lab Research Summary

Bobby Zhou LAB

Bobby Zhou, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

A critical issue in the management of prostate cancer is the ability to determine which patients are at risk of disease recurrence after surgical treatment.  This information is important in making decisions on whether or not a particular patient needs additional treatment such as radiation and hormonal therapy.  Existing markers, such as tumor stage, histologic grade  and completeness of tumor removal, can predict disease recurrence only to a certain extent.  For this reason, there is a need for new predictors capable of distinguishing between more aggressive tumors and tumors that are less likely to progress or recur.

Recent research has demonstrated that genetic features of cancer may provide additional prognostic information.  One of the most common genetic abnormalities found in prostate cancers is the loss of the short arm of the chromosome 8However, the determination of whether or not this partial loss of chromosome 8 indeed occurred is complicated due to the technical problems associated with the existing methods of analysis for clinical specimens.

We have recently developed a technique called “counting alleles” that is specifically designed for analysis of chromosomal abnormalities in clinical specimens.  The counting alleles approach allows researchers to overcome  the problems of the currently available techniques and significantly enhances the accuracy of testing for chromosomal abnormalities.

We used the counting alleles method in a pilot study of 84 prostate cancer patients who underwent radical surgery. Our preliminary results suggested the existence of two subtypes of prostate cancer characterized by different clinical behavior.  Cancers that have chromosome 8 with the short arm loss are more likely to recur if the tumor was not removed completely during surgery.  By contrast, recurrence of tumors with the chromosome 8 intact appears to be more dependent on the histologic grade, while the completeness of the tumor removal did not appear to be as important.  This observation is supported by our gene expression analysis, which indicated that cancers with and without chromosome 8 loss may have different disease progression mechanisms.

We are currently seek to confirm our initial observations by using a larger and more systematic study.  We will further use the counting alleles method to identify the region on chromosome 8p that likely contains the specific gene responsible for the  clinical behavior of prostate cancers.  The completion of this study will provide valuable information for clinicians about prostate cancer prognosis after surgery.  Our findings, if confirmed, will also improve our understanding of the mechanisms and genetic determinants of prostate cancer spread and progression.

Bobby Zhou, PhD
Assistant Professor, Winship Cancer Institute
Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar
American Cancer Society Research Scholar
View Publications

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS

Diana Schlong, MD
View Biographical Sketch
View Curriculum Vitae
View Publications

Jeffy Pho MD
View Biographical Sketch
View Curriculum Vitae

View Publications

RESEARCH SPECIALIST

Forrest Shinga
View Biographical Sketch
View Publications

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Carlson Rocky
View Biographical Sketch
View Publications

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *