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New potential drug targets discovered for preventing prostate cancer cell growth

17.02.2011


Researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Turku have discovered four metabolic enzymes regulating prostate cancer cell growth. Inhibition of these enzymes prevents prostate cancer cell growth in cultured cells. This knowledge can be used to identify different subtypes of prostate cancer and for designing targeted therapies for prostate cancer.

Eicosanoid hormones, which are metabolites of arachidonic acid found in animal-based foods, such as eggs and meat, are essential regulators of normal bodily functions. Metabolic dysfunction relating to these bioactive lipids plays a role in many diseases. Prostate cancer cells use increased arachidonic acid metabolism and eicosanoid production to fuel their enhanced growth.

In addition to previously discovered enzymes that contribute to prostate cancer cell growth, the new study published by researchers from VTT and the University of Turku identifies four enzymes that regulate arachidonic acid metabolism and reveals that prostate cancer cell growth can be inhibited by preventing the functioning of these enzymes.

The study analysed the prevalence of enzymes involved in arachidonic acid metabolism in hundreds of prostate cancer samples, normal prostate samples, and other healthy tissues. The enzymes with the highest expression in prostate cancer samples were selected for further studies in prostate cancer cells. The scientists discovered that certain enzymes were more prevalent than others in different kinds of prostate cancers. This knowledge can be used to identify different subtypes of prostate cancer in the future. The findings of the study provide valuable new information and can potentially lead to the discovery of new ways to treat prostate cancer.

The findings relating to the prevalence and effects of enzymes involved in arachidonic acid metabolism were published in The American Journal of Pathology in February 2011 (Arachidonic Acid Pathway Members PLA2G7, HPGD, EPHX2, and CYP4F8 Identified as Putative Novel Therapeutic Targets in Prostate Cancer. The American Journal of Pathology, Volume 178, Issue 2, Pages 525–536, February 2011)

Image 1: Immunohistochemical staining demonstrates how one of the discovered enzymes is expressed in the prostate. A prostate of a healthy 70-year-old man is shown on the left and a sample from a prostate cancer patient on the right.

Image 2: The images show how blocking the operation of one of the discovered enzymes prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells (left) and increases programmed cell death (right) compared to the control sample.


Additional information

Kristiina Iljin
Senior Research Scientist
+358 20 722 2839

Paula Vainio
Research Scientist, Univesity of Turku
+358 20 722 2839

 

 

Additional information

Kristiina Iljin
Senior Research Scientist
+358 20 722 2839

Paula Vainio
Research Scientist, Univesity of Turku
+358 20 722 2839