March 09, 2016
Aggressive prostate cancer's origins unmasked
BY Ron Gilmore
New findings about where and how aggressive forms of prostate cancer potentially begin may lead to new therapies for hard-to-treat and lethal forms of the disease.
A research team led by Dean Tang, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis, solved a medical mystery by proving that the basal cell layer in the prostate gland contains self-renewing adult stem cells, with a gene expression profile that overlaps that of aggressive and endocrine therapy-resistant prostate cancers.
This new discovery by MD Anderson researchers, published recently in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that these particular cells might be the cells-of-origin in aggressive prostate cancer. Until now, the question of whether and where stem cells were present in the human prostate has been a constant source of debate.
The American Cancer Society estimates that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. Most forms of the disease are slow-growing, but certain prostate cancers are more aggressive and spread quickly outside the confines of the prostate gland.
“Our findings may help establish a potential new line of treatment for these highly aggressive and potentially lethal forms of prostate cancer,” Tang said.
Read more at MD Anderson’s website.