An innovative blood test may help predict whether men with advanced prostate cancer will respond to new treatments for the disease, according to a study by British scientists. The new method is still being studied, but the preliminary results are encouraging, according to study authors. Prostate cancer is a particularly lethal type because it is usually detected too late for effective treatment. Prostate cancer is the second most common among men in the world and the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the male population.
Scientists, led by Gerhardt Attard of the Cancer Research Institute (UK), were able to detect the DNA of cancer cells in the blood of men and locate some of them with several copies of a gene important for the growth of several prostate tumors.
Men with multiple copies of this gene – known as the androgen receptor gene – have been shown to be more resistant to abiraterone and enzyme-treated drugs – which are currently the standard treatment drugs for advanced prostate cancer.
According to Attard, using the blood test, these men could avoid treatments that would probably not work for him if doctors could offer other alternatives.
“Abiraterone and enzalutamide are excellent treatments for advanced prostate cancer, and some men may take these drugs for years without cancer coming back. But for other men, these drugs do not work well and the disease returns quickly. There is currently no approved test to help doctors choose the best treatments for each individual, “said Attard.
According to him, the test will have to be evaluated in clinical trials, but if approved, it will cost less than 50 euros and can be used in doctors’ offices to customise treatments.
“We have developed a robust test that can be used in the clinic to decide which men with advanced prostate cancer are more likely to respond to abiraterone and enzyme-treated and who will need alternative treatments,” Attard said.
The study, which also featured scientists from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, also in the UK, was published in the scientific journal Annals of Oncology.
HOW WAS IT
The researchers analysed blood samples from 265 men with advanced prostate cancer before and after treatment with abiraterone and enzalutamide. The study included patients who never received chemotherapy and others who had already received such treatment.
In the preliminary test with 171 patients, men whose test detected multiple copies of the androgen receptor gene were four times more likely to die during the study compared to the other patients.
The results were then confirmed in the second group of 94 patients in which men with multiple copies of the gene had a response eight times less efficient to treatment compared to men who had only one or two copies of the gene.
The androgen receptor is known for its important role in the process that causes prostate cancer to become resistant to treatments with abiraterone and enzalutamide. These treatments are used in men whose cancer is resistant to traditional hormone-blocking therapy and has already spread throughout the body.
TECHNIQUE PREVENTS MULTIPLICATION OF CANCERIGINAL CELLS
One of the most difficult features of cancer is the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of diseased cells. US researchers have identified a protein present in the cycle of cancerous tumor proliferation that, by being silenced, can slow the rapid and highly harmful evolution of the disease. Laboratory tests with human tumors performed positive, Which leads the team to believe that it could develop a more effective treatment of carcinomas.
All cells have a cycle in which a series of events triggers their growth and their ordered division. In cancer, however, there is an imbalance, with an uncontrolled division that causes the cells to invade various tissues of the body. Researchers have identified that the Tudor-SN protein plays an important role during the cell cycle, especially in the preparatory period, before the structure begins to divide. They then used a gene-editing technology, called CRISPRCas9, to kill Tudor-SN in cancer cells of the kidney and cervix.
The intervention made the cells take longer to prepare for a division, meaning the loss of protein slowed the cell cycle. “We know that Tudor-SN is more abundant in cancer cells than in healthy cells, and our study suggests that targeting this protein could inhibit the rapid growth of cancer cells,” Reyad Elbarbary, the lead author of the study, said in a statement. Study and researcher at the University of Rochester in the United States.
The researchers also found that Tudor-SN influences the cell cycle because it controls micro RNAs – molecules that act on the expression of thousands of genes. When the protein is removed from the cells, the levels of micro RNAs rise, placing “brakes” on genes that stimulate cell growth. “With these genes in the ‘off’ position, the cell moves more slowly in the preparatory phase, before cell division. Because cancer cells have a defective cell cycle, Pursuing factors involved in the cell cycle is a promising avenue for the treatment of cancer, “said Lynne E. Maquat, a researcher at the Center for Biology at RNA, and also an author of the study.
Maquat has filed a patent application for the treatment and added that the next steps of the investigation will look at which molecules and proteins may help to silence Tudor-SN. According to her, there are already compounds that can block the action of the protein. Current research has been detailed in the journal Science. Maquat has filed a patent application for the treatment and added that the next steps of an investigation will examine which molecules and proteins may help to silence Tudor-SN. According to her, there are already compounds that can block the action of the protein. Current research has been detailed in the journal Science. Maquat has filed a patent application for the treatment and added that the next steps of an investigation will examine which molecules and proteins may help to silence Tudor-SN. According to her, there are already compounds that can block the action of the protein. Current research has been detailed in the journal Science.