The course of the disease in prostate cancer is characterized by an overproduction of androgen hormones. One way to slow cancer progression is to lower this hormone level through anti-hormonal therapies. As Interesting Engineering points out, this method works for some patients, but sometimes cancer cells resist these therapies.
New discoveries by an international research team led by the Netherlands Cancer Institute could change the game.
The specialists presented this on June 27th in the journal Cancer Discovery “an unexpected potential solution” whose primary goal would not be to fight cancer, but to “Target proteins that regulate the circadian rhythm of a cell” which is a species according to the Canadian Cancer Society “inner clock”.
Get off the beaten track
In other words, they discovered that a certain class of proteins that regulate the circadian rhythm could blunt the effects of hormone treatment. “Prostate cancer cells no longer have a circadian rhythmcomments Wilbert Zwart, one of the authors of the study. However, the proteins of the circadian clock take on a completely new function in tumor cells during hormone therapies: they keep these cancer cells alive despite treatment.”
The scientists determined this based on tissues from 56 patients with advanced prostate cancer who received three months of anti-hormonal treatment “The genes that keep tumor cells alive were suddenly controlled by a protein that normally regulates the circadian clock”explains researcher Simon Linder, also in the international team.
Specialists will now work hand in hand with the Dutch Oncode Institute to find strategies to block this process. “which would increase the effectiveness of anti-hormonal therapy against prostate cancer”.
“Our discovery has shown that we need to think outside the box when it comes to new treatments for prostate cancer and investigational drugs that affect circadian clock proteins.argues Zwart. There are already several therapies that act on these proteins and these can be combined with anti-hormonal therapies. This path, which allows medicines to be rehabilitated, could save a decade of research.