LOS ANGELES (Sept. 4, 2018) — Scientists at Cedars-Sinai have discovered how prostate cancer can sometimes withstand and outwit a standard hormone therapy, causing the cancer to spread. Their findings also point to a simple blood test that may help doctors predict when this type of hormone therapy resistance will occur.
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men, behind lung cancer, killing nearly 30,000 in the U.S. each year, according to the American Cancer Society. In its early stages, the most common type, adenocarcinoma, is curable and generally responds well to therapies, including those that target androgen – a male sex hormone that stimulates tumor growth.
However, in certain patients, the cancer becomes resistant to androgen-targeted therapy, and the cancer recurs or spreads. One possible reason for that resistance, the study indicated, appears to be that the therapy causes some adenocarcinoma cells to become neuroendocrine cancer-type cells – a rare type that normally appears in fewer than 1 percent of prostate cancer patients.
“This transformation is a problem because neuroendocrine prostate cancer is especially aggressive, metastasizes more readily and is more resistant to both androgen-targeted therapy and chemotherapy,” said Neil Bhowmick, PhD, co-director of the
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