Weill Cornell Researchers Discover Achilles’ Heel in Lethal Form of Prostate Cancer

Himisha Beltran, MD

Dr. Himisha Beltran of the Weill Cornell Prostate Cancer Program and Dr. Mark A. Rubin, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, are leading researchers at Weill Cornell who, along with an international team of researchers, have discovered an Achilles’ heel in an aggressive type of prostate cancer ā€” a vulnerability they say can be attacked by a targeted drug that is already in clinical trials to treat other types of cancers.

In the findings, published in Cancer Discovery, the researchers report that the investigational drug had a dramatic response in animal models of neuroendocrine prostate cancer, and so provides the first hope of an effective human therapy for this lethal cancer. Although neuroendocrine prostate cancer comprises only 2% of initial prostate cancer diagnoses, patients can progress from a more common prostate cancer to a neuroendocrine form as their cancer becomes more advanced.

Specifically, Drs. Beltran and Rubin have discovered that the aurora kinase inhibitor PHA-739358 works against human neuroendocrine prostate cells. To date, the more common adenocarcinoma prostate cancer is treated via androgen suppression therapy. This treatment is utilized well for the more common prostate cancer. But, it is speculated that as the androgen suppression therapy destroys the common cancer cells, neuroendocrine prostate cancer cells grow in their place. If ongoing research confirms this hypothesis, this new molecular pathway could offer hope for the treatment of neuroendocrine prostate cancer.

Click here to read more about the research.

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