Combination therapy could lead to reduction in prostate cancer recurrence

November 14, 2013
Combination therapy could lead to reduction in prostate cancer recurrence
Dr Fiona Frame with a snapshot of prostate cancer cells

Prostate cancer patients who receive radiotherapy could soon be treated more effectively, according to research published today in the British Journal of Cancer.

Although radiotherapy is an effective treatment for the disease, about a third of patients go on to experience a recurrence of their cancer.

Scientists funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research at the University of York have identified a population of radiation resistant cells, and by combining low doses of a common cancer drug with radiotherapy treatment they have increased the sensitivity of these cells to radiation. The findings could lead to a reduction in recurrences.

Professor Norman Maitland, Director of the YCR Cancer Research Unit in the Department of Biology at York, said: "There is a population of cells in every cancer that is highly resistant to radiotherapy. By identifying these cells, we have pin-pointed what we need to target."

Dr Fiona Frame, a member of Professor Maitland's team, began her study by taking tissue from prostate cancer patients undergoing surgery. She then divided the into three categories and tested them for their response to radiation. Results from the tests showed that rare stem cells, which act as a 'silent root' within the cancer, showed more resistance when compared to other cell types.

Dr Frame also found that the DNA inside these cells is more tightly wound than the rest of the . This tightly wound DNA is known as heterochromatin and acts as a protective shield against radiation.

Following these tests, Dr Frame used a HDAC inhibitor – a drug which interferes with the development of heterochromatin and leads to a less tightly packed form of DNA – to treat these cells. This led to increased radiation-induced DNA damage and reduced stem cell survival.

Dr Frame said: "Looking to the future, novel cancer treatment strategies must become more targeted and will require specific combination therapies tailored to different cell types within individual tumour types."

Professor Maitland and his team at the YCR Cancer Research Unit achieved international recognition in 2005 when they were the first to identify prostate , which are believed to be the 'root cause' of prostate . The team, now supported by a £2.15m award from Yorkshire Cancer Research, has since explored the exact molecular properties that allow these cells to spread, survive and resist aggressive treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

Explore further: York scientists discover driving force behind prostate cancer

More information: "HDAC inhibitor confers radiosensitivity to prostate stem-like cells" (BJC.2013.691 / 4322-13TH): www.nature.com/bjc/journal/vao … /ncurrent/index.html

Related Stories

York scientists discover driving force behind prostate cancer

March 27, 2013
Scientists at the University of York have discovered the driving force behind the development of prostate cancer.

Vitamin A could prevent the spread of prostate cancer

April 16, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Vitamin A could help treat and prevent the spread of prostate cancer, according to research published today (Monday, April 15th) in Oncogenesis.

Scientists overcome barrier to prostate cancer research

October 24, 2013
Monash scientists have overcome one of the major barriers to the study and treatment of localised -or organ confined- prostate cancer.

Some immune cells appear to aid cancer cell growth, study finds

September 5, 2013
The immune system is normally known for protecting the body from illness. But a subset of immune cells appear to be doing more harm than good.

Link between prostate cancer and vitamin A may lead to improved treatment

September 5, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Cancer scientists at the University of York have shown a link between prostate cancer and vitamin A for the first time.

A protein that 'rebels' against breast cancer treatment

November 12, 2013
Despite the fact that the cure rate for breast cancer, the most common cancer in women, is very high (around 80%), this disease can nevertheless have very serious consequences. The majority of breast cancer-related deaths ...

Recommended for you

Vitamin C may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die

August 17, 2017
Vitamin C may "tell" faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone ...

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Scientists develop blood test that spots tumor-derived DNA in people with early-stage cancers

August 16, 2017
In a bid to detect cancers early and in a noninvasive way, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood and have used it to ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.