Breakthrough with prostate cancer finding

Local and international researchers have jointly identified a new cause of treatment resistance in prostate cancer and produced a corresponding solution.

Prostate cancer therapy is expected to be improved as a result of local and international researchers jointly identifying a new cause of treatment resistance in prostate cancer.

The discovery by researchers from Fudan University and the Second Military Medical University in Shanghai, as well as the world renowned Mayo Clinic in America, was published in Nature Medicine, an international leading medical journal.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men worldwide, causing more than 250,000 deaths a year.

Though the incidence of prostate cancer in China is lower than in western countries, it is growing due to the aging population, urbanization and increasingly westernized diets. It is now the sixth most common cancer in Chinese men.

BET-inhibitors are used as a therapy for prostate cancer as they can prevent actions of Bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) proteins, which help to guide the abnormal growth of cancer cells. But drug resistance often develops.

The researchers found that mutations within the "speckle-type POZ protein (SPOP)" can cause elevation of BET proteins in prostate cancer patients. 

The accumulation of BET proteins then leads to BET-inhibitor resistance and greatly decreases the lethal effects on cancer cells.

But they also found that when they use BET inhibitors with AKT (protein kinases) inhibitors, they could overcome the BET inhibitor resistance and further support the evaluation of SPOP mutations as biomarkers to guide BET-inhibitor-oriented therapy in patients with prostate cancer.

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