Navigation Links
Advance Toward Test for Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Scientists find gene that drives tumor spread, say it could be target for screening

SUNDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Harvard researchers report what they say is a major advance toward the long-sought goal of a genetic test that can distinguish between aggressive prostate cancers that require urgent treatment and slow-growing tumors that can safely be left alone.

Today, many men diagnosed with prostate cancer are treated with radiation or chemotherapy even though most of those cancers will grow so slowly that they are not dangerous. It is the cancers that metastasize -- spread outside the prostate gland -- that typically are life-threatening.

"For the first time, we showed in a mouse model that when you take a gene out, you get metastasis and when you put it back in you don't get metastasis," said study author Karen Cichowski, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of genetics at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It looks like the entire pathway is driven by this one gene, the cascade that drives metastasis."

Studies of human prostate cancers have shown the same effect, she said: "We have looked at the genetic pathway in a large number of human tumors, and have found it to be deregulated in more advanced prostate cancers."

The finding could lead to better treatment of prostate cancer, because the molecule whose production is governed by the gene can be a target of drug therapy, Cichowski said.

The molecule, designated EZH2, is an enzyme, and "enzymes are always good potential therapeutic targets," she said. "Many companies are working to develop EZH2 inhibitors."

The Brigham and Women's program is one of a number being carried out in competitive fashion at several U.S. medical research centers. They are looking at a cluster of genes whose connection with prostate cancer was first described in 2002 by Jer-Tsong Hsieh, a professor of pathology and urology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

"We complement each other; our findings are very similar," Hsieh said of the Harvard work. "I am a cell biologist and look for the protein. She uses a genetic approach."

Hsieh's group has published several papers on the research, one as recent as last month. One current effort is to develop a chemical reagent that can detect the enzyme, he said.

Another researcher in prostate cancer genetics is Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan, a professor of pathology and urology at the University of Michigan.

The newly reported study "provides a nice mechanistic link as to why EZH2 leads to metastatic cancer," Chinnaiyan said. "It is exciting because there is a lot of interest in the biotechnology world in developing inhibitors of EZH2."

His laboratory is working on such inhibitors, Chinnaiyan added.

"Chinnaiyan showed that this gene for EZH2 is highly expressed in advanced prostate cancer," Cichowski said. "Hsieh showed that a second gene in this genetic pathway was a target of EZH2 and could be silenced by EZH2. It was one of 250 genes targeted by EZH2. We showed that in a mouse model the gene is the primary target of EZH2 in prostate cancer."

That gene, DAB2IP, is suppressed in human prostate cancer, and the degree of suppression correlates with the aggressiveness of a cancer, the journal report said.

"This is the first study to definitively show not only the gene but also the pathway that drives metastasis in prostate cancer," Cichowski said. "Now that we know this pathway, there are many ways to target it."

More information

Complete information about prostate cancer is provided by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: Karen Cichowski, Ph.D., assistant professor, medicine, division of genetics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Jer-Tsong Hsieh, Ph.D., professor, urology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., professor, pathology and urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Feb. 14, 2010, Nature Medicine, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. SNMs Conjoint Mid-Winter Meetings continue to advance molecular imaging
2. UH Case Medical Center researchers publish promising findings for advanced cervical cancer
3. Racial disparities persist in the diagnosis of advanced breast cancer and colon cancer in the U.S.
4. Stem Cell Research Makes Another Advance
5. Sunquest Advances Investment in Innovations Team
6. Frost & Sullivan Ghanaian Pharmaceutical Industry Innovation & Advancement Award Conferred on LaGray Chemical Company
7. Institute for Healthcare Advancement's Ninth Annual Health Literacy Conference Set for May 6-7, 2010 in Irvine, Calif.
8. New paper describes important advance in imaging of cell death
9. New Drug Slows Advanced Kidney Cancer
10. Mayo Clinic and IBM Advance Early Detection of Brain Aneurysms
11. Mayo Clinic and IBM advance early detection of brain aneurysms
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The Foundation ... cancer education and prevention—is joining forces with the award-winning creator and writer of ... on December 7, 2015 at the Union League of Philadelphia. , The ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... , ... The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) announced today that it ... Nov. 30, ASCP shared its “Give a minute. Get tested. Find a cure.” icon ... of getting tested for HIV. , ASCP has asked members to replace their Facebook, ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Brenntag ... exclusive channel partner for the Nutraceutical Specialties products into oral solid dosage in ... immediately. , “We are pleased to announce our expanded distribution agreement with ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... According ... Hansen, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumer Reports as supporting a “A Call ... child’s exposure limits. , The original Nov 2015 CR story titled, “Does Cell-Phone ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... last 15 years, announced today that Michigan-based Family Health Center (FHC) has selected ... over 45 years, FHC was awarded the largest Affordable Care Act grant for ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015 Next week, December 2-3, ... Things (DoT ) co-located events covering the latest in ... of Things, will draw more than 3,000 design industry ... Convention Center. The events, combined show floor will host ... --> --> BIOMEDevice ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... global cell culture market is expected to grow ... 2022 at a CAGR of 7.1% therein. --> global ... value of US$6.1 bn to US$11.3 bn by 2022 at a ... announced the release of a new market research study, detailing the ... Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast ...
(Date:11/30/2015)...  IBA Molecular North America, Inc. (IBAMNA), a U.S. ... that as of January 1, 2016, it will do ... to rebrand the company reflects a refined vision for ... close relationship with Zevacor Molecular.  Both IBAMNA and Zevacor ... Peter Burke , Vice President Sales ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: