Marker for aggressive prostate cancer doubles up as a drug target

November 8, 2016

Researchers have discovered that a marker found on aggressive prostate cancer cells could also be used as a way to guide treatments to the cancer, according to new research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool.

The molecule, called NAALADL2, is already measured to see if is likely to return, but the new study has shown that it can also help direct treatment to the cancer.

The team, based at UCL, had already found that prostate have more of the NAALADL2 molecule on their surface compared to cells from healthy tissue. Prostate cancer patients whose tumour cells have high levels of this molecule are more than twice as likely to see their disease return following surgery.

In the new study, the researchers attached the drug saporin to an antibody targeted against NAALADL2 to destroy prostate cancer cells in the lab.

Dr Hayley Luxton, lead researcher from the Molecular Diagnostics and Therapeutics Laboratory at University College London, said: "Using antibodies mounted with a toxic payload, we can exploit the fact that aggressive have more NAALADL2.

"The next step is to further develop this for use in patients, which we hope can be done in a relatively short timeframe."

Around 46,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK each year. And around 11,000 men will die from the disease each year.

The study was funded by The Urology Foundation, John Black Charitable Trust and Cancer Research UK.

Louise de Winter, CEO of The Urology Foundation, said: "This research was attractive to us as something that could potentially distinguish those so-called 'pussy cat' cancers from the 'tigers'. We're very excited by the potential shown and look forward to further findings."

Dr Chris Parker, Chair of the NCRI's Prostate Cancer Clinical Studies Group, said: "When it comes to aggressiveness, prostate cancer can either be slow-growing or much faster to grow and spread. And there is an urgent need to find better treatments for the more aggressive version of the disease.

"Interestingly, this study shows that the very marker that indicates a may be more aggressive, could also be the key to its downfall."

Explore further: Tumor cells in blood samples could predict prostate cancer spread

Related Stories

New findings concerning hereditary prostate cancer

July 11, 2016

It is a well-known fact that men with a family history of prostate cancer run an increased risk of developing the disease. The risk for brothers of men with prostate cancer is doubled. But a doubled risk of what, exactly? ...

Study finds marker of aggressive prostate cancer

August 3, 2016

The level of a specific molecule present in prostate tumors is an indicator of whether the cancer is aggressive and likely to spread, according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Prostate cancer early warning protein detected

May 31, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists at the University have discovered a protein, only present in prostate cancer cells, that could be used as a marker to detect early signs of the disease.     

Recommended for you

A new way to slow cancer cell growth

May 25, 2017

Cancer is an extremely complex disease, but its definition is quite simple: the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells. Researchers from the University of Rochester's Center for RNA Biology have identified a new way ...

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.