Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prostate Cancer Genes Behave Like Those In Embryo

Date:
September 19, 2008
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Gene activity in prostate cancer is reminiscent of that in the developing fetal prostate, providing further evidence that all cancers are not equal, researchers report. The finding could help scientists investigate how to manipulate the genetic program to fight a disease whose biology remains poorly understood despite more than half a century of investigation.

Gene activity in prostate cancer is reminiscent of that in the developing fetal prostate, providing further evidence that all cancers are not equal, Johns Hopkins researchers report. The finding could help scientists investigate how to manipulate the genetic program to fight a disease whose biology remains poorly understood despite more than half a century of investigation.

Decades ago, researchers noticed that cancers often display many of the same "forever young" features seen in healthy embryonic organs during their early development: fast growth, evasion of aging and death, recruitment of blood vessels to grow more tissue, lots of movement and invasion of nearby tissue.

Though researchers noticed these similarities as far back as the 1920s, the sophisticated technology necessary to test the relationships between development and cancer didn't exist until recently, says David Berman, M.D., associate professor of pathology, oncology and urology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

In a new study published online this week in Oncogene, Berman and his team used new gene-profiling technology to compare the normally developing prostate in mice to human prostate cancers. The work took advantage of extensive existing knowledge about prostate development in mouse embryos.

Male mice develop prostate glands in response to androgens - male hormones that include testosterone - during day 17 of a 21-day gestation. An absence of androgen in female mice causes the cells in the same area to develop into a vagina and urethra, but females can grow prostates if they are artificially supplied with androgen.

To kick-start prostate development on a precisely timed schedule, the researchers gave pregnant mice androgen shots on day 16 after conception, sending male hormone circulating through the mothers' bloodstreams to their developing litters. A second group of pregnant mice were injected with an inactive solution for comparison.

Using mouse gene chips that catalog nearly every gene in the mouse genome, the researchers probed to see which genes were turned on in the urogenital areas of developing female mice six and 12 hours after they were exposed to androgen. They also compared normally developing females (not exposed to androgen) and males (which make their own androgen).

Their gene-profiling results showed that the pattern of activity of genes presumed to be turned on and off by androgen exposure changed dynamically over time. At six hours after injection, 693 genes responded to androgen, mostly by turning off. A little later on - at 12 hours - 177 genes responded, mostly by turning on. By 48 hours, on and off responses were approximately equal, with 829 genes responding to androgen.

"Our pet theory is that these developmental genes may be first turning off normal female development in response to androgens and then turning on prostate development," says Berman. "And when we looked closer at the nature of these genes we found that many are involved in cell survival, growth and movement, which are behaviors seen in cancer cells, so we probed further to see if these genes could be directly linked to prostate cancer."

By comparing the list of mouse genes to genes whose human counterparts are known to be involved in prostate cancers, the researchers found that many of these developmental genes appear to be turned on or off in prostate cancers, especially the more aggressive types and at critical transition points during cancer progression. Moreover, says Berman, the same genes that appear to cause cells to divide, move and change shape to form the prostate in a developing fetus also seem to be reactivated in prostate cancer cells, potentially causing them to divide, move and spread.

"We've identified the programs that form the prostate in the embryo and found them to be remarkably similar to those that form tumors in prostate cancer patients," says Berman. "Since prostate development is reproducible, genetically and pharmacologically tractable, and reflects the entire spectrum of human prostate cancer progression, this gives us a new roadmap for better understanding this particular cancer and identifying new prostate cancer-specific treatments."

These studies were funded by the Evensen Family, Passano, and Patrick C Walsh Prostate cancer foundations, and the National Institutes of Health.

Edward M. Schaeffer and Luigi Marchionni led the laboratory and analytic work. Other researchers who participated in this study include Zhenhua Huang, Brian Simons, Amanda Blackman, Wayne Yu and Giovanni Parmigiani.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Prostate Cancer Genes Behave Like Those In Embryo." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916215215.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2008, September 19). Prostate Cancer Genes Behave Like Those In Embryo. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916215215.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Prostate Cancer Genes Behave Like Those In Embryo." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916215215.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins