The new discovery will help scientists and doctors to better understand the causes of prostate cancer, and even to completely prevent the occurrence of this cancer.
Prostate cancer will be able to be treated more easily and quickly in the future, given that scientists have University of East Anglia made an important discovery about how prostate cancer can begin to develop. A new study, published in Molecular Oncology, reveals that the prostate as a whole, including cells that appear normal, is different in men who have developed prostate cancer. This indicates that tissue cells throughout the prostate are primed and ready to develop prostate cancer. It also means that it may be better to treat the entire prostate rather than just the areas of the prostate affected by the tumor.
Prostate cancer kills one man every 45 minutes
The team of researchers hopes that their work could help scientists better understand the causes of prostate cancer and even prevent it altogether. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and in the UK, where the study was conducted, this cancer kills one man every 45 minutes.
Often, when prostate cancer is diagnosed, clusters of cancer cells can be found in more than one location within the prostate. This is exactly why the researchers wanted to find out if this was due to changes in the “normal” cells throughout the prostate.
Cancer is caused by changes in DNA, which occur in every cell. A team of researchers studied the DNA code in 121 tissue samples taken from 37 men with and without prostate cancer.
– The samples we studied contained tissue originating from cancer and tissue from elsewhere in the prostate, which looks normal under the microscope. This provides a huge amount of data and by applying a large amount of computer databases we can determine the differences that have appeared in the DNA, giving us an insight into how prostate cancer develops – explains Professor Dr. Daniel Brewer with University of East Anglia.
The entire prostate is ready to develop cancer, not just individual parts
Scientists have found that normal prostate cells in men who have had prostate cancer have more mutations (changes in DNA) than normal prostate cells in men without cancer. Based on the genetics of the analyzed samples, the researchers created maps to help them know where the different mutations appeared. In this way, they showed that in most men, mutations in normal cells are different from mutations in cancer cells.
As they explain, normal prostate cells in men with prostate cancer appear to provide a favorable environment for prostate cancer cells to develop and grow.
– In other words, the entire prostate is primed and ready to develop prostate cancer driven by an as yet unknown biological process. This work has improved our knowledge of how prostate cancer begins to develop and may one day give us clues as to how to prevent or treat it. And that shows that it might be better to treat the entire prostate, not just those areas of the prostate that have cancer – emphasized Dr. Brewer.
Normal prostate cells act like a well “fertilized” soil for prostate cancer
Dr. Hayley Luxton, researcher with Prostate Cancer UKexplained that this exciting new research shows for the first time how normal cells in the prostate can facilitate the growth and spread of prostate cancer.
– Normal prostate cells in men with prostate cancer have been found to have specific genetic changes that cause them to act like ‘rich compost’, providing the perfect environment for prostate cancer cells to grow and develop. “These findings give us important new insight into the early development of prostate cancer, which could one day give us clues as to how to prevent it,” said Dr. Luxton.