Collaborative Effort Aims to Find Strategies to Preempt Resistance to Prostate Cancer Therapies


The ‘Targeting Adaptive Pathways in Metastatic Treatment-Resistant Prostate Cancer’ 3-year project aims to understand how prostate tumors become resistant to two newer drugs for prostate cancer that target the androgen receptor pathway—enzalutamide and abiraterone acetate. Continue reading…


Genetic Mutations Could Help Identify Aggressive Prostate Tumors Faster


A new study suggests that mutations associated with aggressive prostate tumors can be detected before pathologists recognize the cells as aggressive. John Cheville, MD, pathologist; George Vasmatzis, PhD, assistant professor of laboratory medicine and pathology; and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, used next-generation genomic sequencing to compare the genetic alterations of pathologically distinct cells from the same prostate tumor. The study is published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Continue reading…


Identification of Antiandrogen Resistance Mutation Leads to Design of Molecules That Could Overcome Resistance


Researchers recently identified a genetic mutation that results in resistance to the drug enzalutamide (Xtandi) and to other second-generation antiandrogen receptor drugs. The discovery has already led to the design of new compounds that could overcome this type of resistance in prostate cancer patients. Those compounds are in preclinical studies. Continue reading…


Simultaneous Spurts of Mutations Drive Prostate Cancer, Whole-Genome Sequencing Study Finds


A large collaborative research effort shows that prostate cancers may evolve in sudden, brief spurts of many simultaneous genetic mutations that disrupt important prostate cancer genes. Using deep-sequencing techniques and computer modeling, scientists have created a detailed temporal map of how genetic aberrations evolve within prostate tumors. This result differs from the traditional model of cancer resulting from the step-by-step accumulation of individual mutations. The study is published in the journal Cell. Continue reading…


Smart Patients: Groundbreaking Website Supports Conversations among Cancer Patients


Cancer Commons is thrilled to report the public launch of Smart Patients, a new online discussion platform for cancer patients and their caregivers that will enable them to learn from each other and improve their care. The free website lets users share insights about personal treatment experiences, discuss breaking science, and search for clinical trials.

“Many patients are incredibly self-motivated,” says Roni Zeiger, MD, Smart Patients cofounder and former chief health strategist at Google. “They are already finding the most cutting-edge science and we are providing them with a new way to discuss and disseminate this knowledge.” Continue reading…


Tracking Resistance to Cancer Therapies Without Tumor Access


Clinicians would like to be able to monitor whether a cancer patient’s tumor has acquired a resistance mutation as a result of targeted therapy. Knowing early if resistance has developed would allow patients to switch therapies and to curb tumor growth. But taking repeated tumor samples is problematic for many reasons. Biopsies are invasive and some tumors are inaccessible. Another issue is that tumors are mosaics of many different types of cells that are constantly evolving—since biopsies take time in the clinic and only sample a small part of a tumor, they may also not be representative of what is going on with the biology of the entire tumor mass. Continue reading…


Prostate Cancer ‘Dream Teams’ Lay Out Project Plans to Target Treatment-Resistant Prostate Cancer and to Identify New Prostate Cancer Subgroups


Last week, cancer researchers gathered in Washington, D.C., to attend the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting. At the meeting, two large-scale projects to improve the treatment of prostate cancer and prolong patients’ survival were outlined in presentations by two prominent researchers and clinicians: Arul M. Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, a professor of urology at the University of Michigan and director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Eric J. Small, MD, the deputy director of clinical sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Continue reading…


Large International Study Identifies 23 New Genetic Sites Linked to Prostate Cancer


An ongoing collaboration of more than 50 research groups around the world has identified 23 new genes or genomic regions that may contribute to the development of prostate cancer. These findings allow for a more accurate assessment of a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer. The results were published in the April, 2013, issue of Nature Genetics (doi:10.1038/ng.2560).

Including the 23 new prostate cancer susceptibility genetic loci, there are now a total of 77 known loci linked to prostate cancer. This accounts for about 30% of all familial risk for prostate cancer—the other factors for familial risk for prostate cancer are not yet defined. Continue reading…


How Much Hormonal Therapy Is Sufficient?


A recent trial suggests that the standard duration of hormonal therapy is longer than necessary for many patients. In the study, men with localized, but high-risk prostate cancer who were treated with hormonal therapy for 18 months lived just as long as those treated for 36 months. The phase III trial was conducted at multiple hospitals in Quebec, Canada. Dr. Abdenour Nabid of Sherbrooke University Hospital Center in Sherbrooke, Quebec, is lead author of the study. He presented these results last month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary (ASCO GU) Symposium in Orlando, Florida. Continue reading…