A report suggests that a treatment may be on the horizon for neuroendocrine prostate cancers, the most lethal subtype of the disease.

Although fewer than 2% of men have prostate cancer present with neuroendocrine prostate cancer, the more common prostate adenocarcinoma can also evolve into a neuroendocrine prostate cancer, with a grim prognosis

Mark Rubin, MD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and colleagues used next-generation RNA sequencing to profile samples of seven neuroendocrine prostate cancers, 30 prostate adenocarcinomas and five benign samples of prostate tissue.

They found that the genes AURKA and MYCN were overexpressed and amplified in 40% of neuroendocrine prostate cancers and in 5% of prostate adenocarcinomas.

Moreover, the researchers found that treatment with the investigational aurora kinase (AURKA) inhibitor PHA-739358 inhibited the growth of these neuroendocrine tumors.

Rubin says that PHA-739358 has been studied in prostate cancers before without success, but this may be due to the fact that previously studied prostate cancers were not neuroendocrine cancers. “Prostate cancer is not a homogenous disease. We need to continue to sort out the aggressive disease from the indolent and treat accordingly,” says Rubin.

The research was published in Cancer Discovery.

Release Date: Nov. 17, 2011
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College