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Scientists discover key event in prostate cancer progression
Date:7/23/2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio A study led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reveals how late-stage, hormone-independent prostate tumors gain the ability to grow without need of hormones.

The onset of hormone-independent growth marks an advanced and currently incurable stage of prostate cancer.

The study, published in the July 24, 2009, issue of the journal Cell, focuses on androgen receptors, molecules located in the nucleus of cells of the prostate gland and other tissues. Male sex hormones androgens bind with these receptors to activate genes that control cell growth.

The researchers show that in androgen-independent prostate cancer, androgen receptors are reprogrammed to regulate a group of genes involved in a different, later, phase of cell division, triggering rapid cell growth. They further show that a modification of a chief component of the chromosome is responsible for this reprogramming.

"Some late-phase prostate cancer does not require androgen hormones for tumor growth, but it does require androgen receptors," says first author and co-corresponding author Qianben Wang, assistant professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry and a researcher with the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

"Our study reveals the role of androgen receptors in hormone independent prostate cancer, how they become active in that disease and what genes they regulate to promote tumor growth."

The findings provide a better understanding of prostate cancer and could identify new therapeutic targets and lead to new treatments for this lethal stage of the disease, he says.

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men. An estimated 192,280 new cases are expected in the United States in 2009, along with 27,360 deaths from the disease.

To conduct the study, Wang working with correspondin
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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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