Unfortunately, there are cases of treatment-resistant prostate cancer. However, researchers have found ways around these issues. Trials are underway and show great promise.
In many cases, prostate cancer tumors do not become aggressive. These can go on with minimal or even no treatment. Other circumstances bring more aggressive tumors, which doctors usually treat with radiation therapy or surgery.
This is usually effective in completely removing cancer from a patient’s body. Sadly, around one in three patients see cancer return after the first rounds of treatment. It is in these cases that doctors would usually resort to other methods, such as suppressing hormones. These block some of the effects of testosterone and related hormones which contribute to the growth of tumors in the prostate.
Hormone suppression treatment usually works really well in these cases. Regrettably, there are cases in which prostate cancer tumors circumvent this kind of treatment. This is where new research and trials are taking place to fight back.
Protein signaling in treatment-resistant prostate cancer
One of the ways that tumors find ways to circumvent hormone suppression treatment is by signaling to other cells surrounding them via proteins. Researchers found the specific protein they use to do this; they’ve labeled it CD105.
Furthermore, research has shown that a test drug that blocks the creation of these proteins helps. Among trial patients, around 40% of them responded positively to combining hormone suppression with the new CD105 protein inhibitor. That is to say, the tumors’ growth and progression were halted effectively in those cases.
On the other hand, where protein inhibitors don’t work, consensus suggest chemotherapy would be the best alternative. However, research has also revealed that chemotherapy only really suppresses tumor growth for around 3 months. Yet the CD105 protein inhibitor did generally make these treatment-resistant tumors vulnerable to androgen/hormone suppression therapy.
Advantages of protein CD105 inhibition in early cases
Other advantages of inhibiting CD105 have become evident in early cases of treatment-resistant prostate cancer.
If this resistance to androgen suppression in tumors is caught early enough, inhibiting the CD105 protein can resensitize the tumors to the treatment’s effects. The potential advantage of this combination of treatments is that it gives patients the option of avoiding more harmful treatments. For example, chemotherapy.
Researchers are currently working on a method to anticipate which patients may carry treatment-resistant prostate cancer. In particular, doctors would use blood tests and biopsies to scan cases such as these.
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