discoveries magazine

Prostate Cancer Gene Identified

Raul Arias

Investigators reveal a genetic factor fueling aggressive prostate cancer.

Men whose prostate cancer metastasizes and resists hormone therapy face a poor prognosis, with fewer than a third living five years past diagnosis. But laboratory findings may lead to ways to rein in cancerís rampage, according to research led by Cedars-Sinai.

The investigators identified a driver of aggressive prostate cancer in animal models and also found a molecule that could potentially attack it. Analyzing patient genetic and molecular data, the team found elevated activity of the molecule ONECUT2 (OC2)—needed by the body to manufacture certain proteins—in tumors of patients whose prostate cancer resisted hormone therapy.

Their experiments also identified a compound that counteracted OC2 to significantly reduce the size of prostate cancer metastases in mice.

“Our research suggested that OC2 is a master regulator of lethal prostate cancer that may be a useful therapeutic target for patients whose cancer spreads and evades hormone therapy,” says Michael Freeman, PhD, co-director of the Cancer Biology Program in the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, and the Ben Maltz Chair in Cancer Therapeutics.