Hormone Depletion Activates Tumor Survival Process in Prostate Cancer, Study Shows

Hormone Depletion Activates Tumor Survival Process in Prostate Cancer, Study Shows
Prostate cancer hormone depletion treatments might, in fact, be boosting cancer growth and making a tumor more aggressive, researchers at England's University of Surrey found. Their study, which appeared in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrated that a loss of androgen hormones activates a DNA repair enzyme called PARP, which prevents cancer treatment from being effective. The insight might reduce relapse rates among patients treated this way, and paves the way for treatment combinations using so-called PARP inhibitors, researchers said. “Our research shows that anti-hormone treatment could be combined with PARP inhibitor to prevent the progression of the disease,” Dr. Mohammad Asim from the universities of Cambridge and Surrey, and the study’s lead author, said in a press release. Many cancer treatments work by destroying tumor cell DNA, which prevents the cells from multiplying. PARP is a backup DNA repair system, particularly used by cancers with certain mutations that are common in prostate cancer. When the system is activated, cancer cells are better at withstanding the effects of therapy. But the imprecise repair done by PARP is also linked to a higher tumor mutation rate, which in turn, is linked to more aggressive disease. Researchers are currently exploring whether drugs that block PARP — and so, prevent DNA repair — might be effective in certain cancer forms. The study, “Synthetic lethality betwe
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