The study find that the Prostate cancer often becomes lethal as it spreads to the bones; and the process behind this deadly feature potentially be turn against it as a target for bone-targeting radiation and potential new therapies. Therefore In a study publish online Tuesday in the journal PLOS ONE; Duke Cancer Institute researchers describe how prostate cancer cells develop the ability to mimic bone-forming cells call osteoblasts; enabling them to proliferate in the bone microenvironment.
Attacking these cells with radium-233; a radioactive isotope that selectively targets cells in these bone metastases, has been shown to prolong patients’ lives. But a better understanding of how radium works in the bone was need. The mapping of this mimicking process could lead to a more effective use of radium-233 ; and to the development of new therapies to treat or prevent the spread of prostate cancer to bone.
“Given that most men who die of prostate cancer have bone metastases; this work is critical to helping understand this process;” said lead author Andrew Armstrong, M.D., director of research at the Duke Cancer Institute Center for Prostate and Urologic Cancers. Armstrong and colleagues enrolled a small study group of 20 men with symptomatic bone-metastatic prostate cancer.
When analyzing the circulating tumor cells from study participants, they find that bone-forming enzymes appeared to be expressed commonly, and that genetic alterations in bone forming pathways are also common in these prostate cancer cells. They validated these new genetic findings in a separate multicenter trial involving a larger group of more than 40 men with prostate cancer and bone metastases.
Following treatment with radium-223, the researchers found that the radioactive isotope was concentrated in bone metastases; but tumor cells still circulated and cancer progressed within six months of therapy. The researchers found a range of complex genetic alterations in these tumor cells that likely enabled them to persist and develop resistance to the radiation over time. Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate; a gland in the male reproductive system.
The cancer cells may metastasize (spread) from the prostate to other parts of the body; particularly the bones and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse; or erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease.
Rates of detection of prostate cancers vary widely across the world, with South and East Asia detecting less frequently than in Europe, and especially the United States. Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of fifty and although it is one of the most prevalent types of cancer in men; many never have symptoms, undergo no therapy, and eventually die of other causes.