A research panel at the Monash University in Australia have found that some prostate cancer cells survive androgen withdrawal treatment. Previously unidentified, these cells are potential targets for future treatments. Owing to their presence in since early development, researchers believe that there is the possibility of therapy before the cancer reaches the aggressive, incurable stage
In the advanced cases of the disease, the available treatment involves drugs that effectively mimic castration and so deprive the tumour of the male hormones that cause it to grow. Androgen deprivation therapy is highly effective for prostate cancer; however, the tumour eventually becomes resistant to the treatment and regrows in an incurable form.
The researchers led by Professor Gail Risbridger and Dr Renea Taylor, examined tumour samples from 12 men with early stage, localised prostate cancer. The mouse model was used to mimic the progression in humans.
"The results indicate that these persistent cancer cells somehow differ from cancer cells that respond to androgen withdrawal, and are likely to be the precursor cells that lead to advanced androgen-resistant disease. We will now investigate how to effectively target these cells," Risbridger said.
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