Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prostate cancer advance could improve treatment options

Date:
February 12, 2014
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
Researchers have made an important advance in understanding genetic changes associated with terminal prostate cancer. The research highlights why relapses could happen in some men following hormone therapy. And it could help identify those patients that will develop fatal prostate cancer much earlier for life-extending therapy.

Findings published today in the British Journal of Cancer, and funded by the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), show how a genetic mutation in untreated patients is linked to aggressive cancer later in life. It was previously thought that the mutation only occurred in response to therapy.

The research highlights why relapses could occur in some men following hormone therapy. And it could help identify those patients that will develop fatal prostate cancer much earlier for life-extending therapy.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with more than 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Treatment options for patients diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer vary from "watchful waiting" to hormone-withdrawal therapy, radiotherapy or surgery.

Additional tests for indicators of aggressive cancer are necessary to help categorise patients so that those with a low-risk of the disease spreading can avoid unnecessary treatment, and those diagnosed with a high-risk can be targeted for more aggressive first line therapy.

Hormone-withdrawal therapy often results in a dramatic remission, however the disease invariably relapses with a resistant form of the cancer. A third of these are due to an increase in copy number of a particular gene called the 'androgen receptor'. The gene is on the X-Chromosome and so there is normally only one copy of this gene present in men. Prostate cancer thrives on male hormones, and one way that they develop to grow better is to increase the number of copies of the androgen receptor gene. This also enables the cancer to resist therapy.

Lead researchers Dr Jeremy Clark and Prof Colin Cooper from UEA's school of Biological Sciences carried out the research at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and at UEA.

Dr Clark said: "By the age of 60, the majority of men will have signs of prostate cancer. However, only a small proportion of men will die of the disease. The question is -- which of these cancers are dangerous and which are not? Deciding which cancers are going to progress and kill the patient is key to effective patient treatment."

"Prostate cancer thrives on male hormones, and cutting the supply of hormones to the cancer is a main avenue of therapy. Prostate cancer only kills the patient when it becomes immune to these therapies. A third of these killer cancers are immune to therapy because they have boosted the number of male hormone receptor (AR) genes in their DNA. This gene boosting, also known as amplification, has been thought to be a response of the tumour to the hormone reduction therapy itself.

"Our research has shown that an early form of this hormone-gene boosting is present in a number of prostate cancers that have never been treated with hormone reduction therapy. We think that it is these cancers that will grow and kill the patient.

"This discovery can be used to identify these killer cancers in patients much earlier than is currently possible. Patients could then be selected for more aggressive therapy before the cancer has developed full immunity."

The research team looked at biomarkers from almost 600 patients prior to hormone-withdrawal therapy. But the method of identification used was labour intensive and time consuming. Developing ways of identifying patients for early therapeutic intervention will be key to implementing this discovery in the clinic. The research team are currently looking at more rapid ways of identifying patients that will develop aggressive cancer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S Merson, Z H Yang, D Brewer, D Olmos, A Eichholz, F McCarthy, G Fisher, G Kovacs, D M Berney, C S Foster, H Mψller, P Scardino, J Cuzick, C S Cooper, J P Clark. Focal amplification of the androgen receptor gene in hormone-naive human prostate cancer. British Journal of Cancer, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2014.13

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Prostate cancer advance could improve treatment options." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212112741.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2014, February 12). Prostate cancer advance could improve treatment options. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212112741.htm
University of East Anglia. "Prostate cancer advance could improve treatment options." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212112741.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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