Discovering the mechanisms that underlie prostate cancer

July 12, 2018 by Julia Short, Cardiff University
Micrograph showing prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma (the most common form of prostate cancer) Credit: Wikipedia

New research has uncovered insights into the mechanisms that underlie prostate cancer, providing potential targets for new cancer therapies.

Prostate is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the UK, and researchers from Cardiff University have identified a that is linked to poor prognosis for patients with the .

Advanced prostate cancer patients initially respond well to hormonal therapies but nearly all will eventually develop an aggressive form of the disease called castrate-resistant prostate cancer.

Previously, genetic mutations in a tumour suppression gene, PTEN, have been shown to activate the cell signalling pathway, PI3K, which gives their ability to grow uncontrollably.

The new research has uncovered the role of another genetic mutation in prostate cancer, which influences the aggressive nature of the disease.

Dr. Helen Pearson, Cardiff University's European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, said: "We've identified a new genetic mutation that may drive the growth of prostate cancer cells. In our research, we found that when were given a mutation in the PIK3CA gene, they rapidly formed tumours that developed resistance to hormone therapy.

"Our findings indicate that people who are carrying a PIK3CA genetic alteration are highly likely to develop resistance to hormonal cancer treatments and have a poor treatment outcome.

"We also found that both PTEN and PIK3CA genetic alterations are present in prostate cancer, and that they can work together via potentially independent mechanisms to accelerate the development of the tumour, as well as causing the cancer to become resistant to hormone therapy.

"Survival of patients with castrate-resistant prostate cancer is poor, so it is vital to develop novel and targeted treatments for this aggressive disease."

Professor Wayne Phillips, from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia, added: "This research gives a new insight into the development of cancer, and provides a foundation for new targeted therapeutic approaches to tackle this disease."

The research was the result of an international collaboration between Dr. Helen Pearson from Cardiff University and Professor Wayne Phillips at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

The article 'Identification of Pik3ca mutation as a genetic driver of that cooperates with Pten loss to accelerate progression and castration-resistant growth' is published in Cancer Discovery.

Explore further: Study paves the way for better treatment of prostate cancer

More information: Helen B. Pearson et al. Identification of Pik3ca Mutation as a Genetic Driver of Prostate Cancer That Cooperates with Pten Loss to Accelerate Progression and Castration-Resistant Growth, Cancer Discovery (2018). DOI: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-17-0867

Related Stories

Study paves the way for better treatment of prostate cancer

May 10, 2018
A new study published today has found a way to identify men with locally advanced prostate cancer who are less likely to respond well to radiotherapy.

Research identifies cells that may be responsible for prostate cancer recurrence

December 22, 2017
Although men with prostate cancer usually respond to standard treatment with hormone therapy or chemotherapy, many will eventually experience progression or recurrence despite treatment—particularly those with high-risk ...

New prostate cancer risk score could help guide screening decisions

January 10, 2018
A new score for predicting a man's genetic risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer could help guide decisions about who to screen and when, say researchers in The BMJ today.

Body size and prostate cancer risk

July 14, 2017
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Europe and the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in men worldwide.

Study uncovers an additional strategy for targeting treatment-resistant prostate cancer

May 2, 2017
Prostate cancer cells depend on signaling through the androgen receptor (AR) to grow and survive. Many anti-cancer therapies that target ARs are initially successful in patients, including a class of drugs known as CYP17A1 ...

Discovery of new prostate cancer biomarkers could improve precision therapy

August 14, 2017
Mayo Clinic researchers have identified a new cause of treatment resistance in prostate cancer. Their discovery also suggests ways to improve prostate cancer therapy. The findings appear in Nature Medicine. In the publication, ...

Recommended for you

Traditional chemotherapy superior to new alternative for oropharyngeal cancers

November 16, 2018
A drug increasingly used in combination with radiotherapy to treat a type of cancer that forms in the tonsils or the base of the tongue is inferior to a previously favored option, according to a large, clinical trial led ...

Repurposing FDA-approved drugs can help fight back breast cancer

November 16, 2018
Screening Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved compounds for their ability to stop cancer growth in the lab led to the finding that the drug flunarizine can slow down the growth of triple-negative breast cancer in ...

Standard chemotherapy treatment for HPV-positive throat cancer remains the most effective, study finds

November 15, 2018
A new study funded by Cancer Research UK and led by the University of Birmingham has found that the standard chemotherapy used to treat a specific type of throat cancer remains the most effective.

New 'SLICE' tool can massively expand immune system's cancer-fighting repertoire

November 15, 2018
Immunotherapy can cure some cancers that until fairly recently were considered fatal. In addition to developing drugs that boost the immune system's cancer-fighting abilities, scientists are becoming expert at manipulating ...

Anti-malaria drugs have shown promise in treating cancer, and now researchers know why

November 15, 2018
Anti-malaria drugs known as chloroquines have been repurposed to treat cancer for decades, but until now no one knew exactly what the chloroquines were targeting when they attack a tumor. Now, researchers from the Abramson ...

Researchers identify a mechanism that fuels cancer cells' growth

November 14, 2018
Scientists at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified sodium glucose transporter 2, or SGLT2, as a mechanism that lung cancer cells can utilize to obtain glucose, which is key to their survival and promotes ...

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.