New Clue to Prostate Cancer May Improve Treatment

Better targeting of hormone receptor could stop spread of disease

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TUESDAY, Nov. 16, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- New information about the activity of a hormone-sensitive cell receptor could improve the treatment of prostate cancer, according to a study in the November issue of Cancer Cell.

Androgen receptors (AR) play a key role in prostate cancer progression and are a prime target for treatment of the disease. Now, researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have discovered that AR activity is not triggered by molecules called EGFR -- as was previously believed -- but by another chemical pathway, called HER2/ERBB3.

The finding may explain the limited success of the EGFR-inhibiting drug Gefitinib, which was recently tested against prostate cancer in clinical trials.

About a third of prostate cancer patients develop metastatic disease and receive treatment to stop androgen production and AR activity. However, this treatment eventually becomes ineffective.

The UCLA researchers suggest that drugs that target HER2, instead of EGFR, may prove more effective in treating these types of prostate cancers.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Cell Press, news release, Nov. 15, 2004

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