Researchers have discovered human gene markers that work together to cause metastatic prostate cancer– cancer that spreads beyond the prostate.
In their new study in Nature Cancer, researchers examined prostate cancer cells from people and mice and found a wide collaboration among 16 genes that leads to metastasis, which can often challenge treatment options.
The gene markers researchers identified can predict if a patient has a high probability of developing metastasis, including bone.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men in the United States with a five-year relative survival rate of near 100% when diagnosed early. Metastatic prostate cancer has a five-year survival rate of 30%.
Current therapeutics like first- and next- generation anti-androgens that target male sex hormones alongside radiation, chemotherapy, and others are not always effective. It’s currently impossible to predict which patients are at risk of developing the advanced late stage of the disease.
“People diagnosed with prostate cancer should now be screened for the protein markers discovered to help determine their risk of developing metastatic prostate cancer, which can help inform more personalized therapy,” says Antonina Mitrofanova, an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Health Professions and research member at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
“Our results show that molecular profiling at the time of diagnosis can help inform more personalized therapy leading to better outcomes for those with this advanced form of disease.”
The researchers say testing for these gene markers can also predict which patients will fail to respond to normally used androgen targeting therapies in metastatic disease and can decrease multiple treatment rounds for patients.
Additional coauthors are from Columbia University. The researchers have obtained a patent for their discovery and are looking to develop therapeutics and diagnostic tools.
Source: Rutgers University