“In 1048 prostate cancer patients previously treated with docetaxel and 996 metastatic, castration-resistant patients, treatment with the androgen-lowering drug abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) led to longer overall disease control, even when a very high Gleason score indicated especially aggressive cancer.Results recently published in the Annals of Oncology show that for patients with Gleason score greater than 8, post-docetaxel treatment with abiraterone extended progression-free survival from 5.5 months to 6.4 months, and pre-chemotherapy abiraterone treatment extended progression-free survival from 8.2 months to 16.5 months.”
“A new, large cohort analysis from the prospective Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, indicates that men who had moderate baldness affecting both the front and the crown of their head at age 45 were at a 40% increased risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer (usually indicates a faster growing tumor resulting in poorer prognosis relative to non-aggressive prostate cancer) later in life, compared to men with no baldness. There was no significant link between other patterns of baldness and prostate cancer risk. The study, published September 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, supports earlier research suggesting that male pattern baldness and prostate cancer may be linked.
” ‘Our study found an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer only in men with a very specific pattern of hair loss, baldness at the front and moderate hair-thinning on the crown of the head, at the age of 45. But we saw no increased risk for any form of prostate cancer in men with other hair-loss patterns,’ said senior study author Michael B. Cook, PhD, an investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. ‘While our data show a strong possibility for a link between the development of baldness and aggressive prostate cancer, it’s too soon to apply these findings to patient care.’
“New research raises the prospect that some cancer patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
“Studying triple-negative breast cancer, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that some aggressive tumors rely on an antiviral pathway that appears to drive inflammation, widely recognized for roles in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
“The tumors that activate this particular antiviral pathway always have dysfunctional forms of the proteins p53 and ARF, both encoded by genes known for being highly mutated in various cancers. The investigators found that the two genes compensate for each other. If both are mutated, the tumors that form are more aggressive than if only one of these genes is lost.
“When both genes are lost and the antiviral pathway is activated, patients may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs called JAK inhibitors, currently prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis.”
Editor’s note: Recent research shows that drugs known as JAK inhibitors, often prescribed for arthritis, might also help fight certain types of breast cancer. Specifically, JAK inhibitors might benefit patients with triple-negative breast cancer whose tumors have mutated forms of the proteins p53 and ARF. The researchers are working with specialists to identify patients with those mutations who might benefit from JAK inhibitors.
The vast majority of high-risk prostate cancer cases are caused by abnormally high activity of a protein called the androgen receptor. Present in many prostate cells, androgen receptors detect androgen hormones (including testosterone), and in response, turn on or off genes. Genes that are regulated by androgen hormones are critical for the development of the prostate and maintenance of its function. But when the androgen receptor is overly active, which can occur via several different processes in the aging prostate, it can activate genes that can lead to uncontrolled proliferation of prostate cells. This contributes to the development of aggressive prostate cancer. Continue reading…