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New research may show why some prostate cancer recurs after treatment
Date:10/11/2007

Lake Tahoe, CA, October 11, 2007 Cancer researchers have long worked to understand why some prostate cancers recur after the use of therapies designed to stop the production of testosterone and other androgens that fuel cancer cell growth. New research has now detected that androgen-synthesizing proteins are present within cancer cells, which suggests that cancer cells may develop the capacity to produce their own androgens.

The presence of these proteins may explain why some prostate cancers become resistant to these widely-used therapies, and offers new directions for research into future treatments that could block the development of androgens in the cancer cells. The study, funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the National Cancer Institute, was presented today at the Foundations annual Scientific Retreat.

Androgen-deprivation therapy is routinely used in the treatment of advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer, in order to deprive cancer cells of these hormones that fuel their growth. However, over time cancer cells can become androgen independent, and grow even in the presence of these medications. This type of the cancer is a lethal form of the disease, with most patients dying 18 to 24 months after becoming resistant to hormone suppression. Research in the field has focused on understanding the mechanisms used by these cancer cells to become castration resistant.

Investigators Peter Nelson, M.D., Elahe Mostaghel, M.D., Ph.D., and Bruce Montgomery, M.D. from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington, conducted tests on tumors removed and preserved from deceased prostate cancer patients during rapid autopsies immediately after death. All the patients had received androgen-blocking therapies during the course of treatment to suppress tumor growth.

The researchers were able to detect in the tumors the key proteins, or enzymes, needed for a cell to produce its own testosterone from
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Contact: Sharon Reis
prostate@gymr.com
202-745-5100
GYMR
Source:Eurekalert

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