Document Type


Patent Number

US Patent 6,379,893

Patent agency

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Publication Date



University of Iowa Research Foundation (Iowa City, IA, US)

Application Number


Date Filed


Total Pages

5 pages


Disclosed is a method for diagnosing the tumorigenic grade of a malignant tissue. The method entails determining the amount of dystroglycan protein of the malignant tissue relative to a standard. Suitable methods for determining the amount of dystroglycan protein of the tissue are provided, and include measuring the amount of mRNA transcripts which encode dystroglycan, and also performing western blot analysis or immunofluorescence analysis on the tissue components to detect α-dystroglycan or β-dystroglycan. An antibody probe which binds specifically to the C-terminus of β-dystroglycan, is provided. This method is applicable to human malignant tissue, especially adenocarcinoma, and preferably prostate or mammary adenocarcinoma. This method can also be applied to the detection of a cancerous disease state in a tissue of a patient, with a decreased level of dystroglycan protein being indicative of the presence of cancer. Also disclosed is a method for determining the prognosis of a patient afflicted with a malignancy by determining the expression level of the dystroglycan gene in a tissue sample of the malignancy, and comparing the expression level to a standard, with a decreased level of dystroglycan expression being indicative of unfavorable prognosis. A method for identifying an individual at risk for the development of cancer, or an individual at risk for the recurrence of cancer after treatment, is also disclosed. Similarly, a method for identifying individuals at risk for developing cancer by screening for mutations in the dystroglycan genes of the individual is also provided. One such mutation is the allelic loss of human chromosome 3p21.

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