Regulation of Cancer

Prostate Cancer

The MMRI research team is pursuing a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms implicated in development and progression of prostate cancer and its relationship with aging. Our findings may be useful in identification of novel therapeutic targets.

Prostate cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer overall, and the most common cancer diagnosis in men. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men (after lung cancer). In addition, medical complications arise from age-related enlargement of the prostate gland, termed benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). BPH refers to the nonmalignant growth of the prostate and is very common in men as they age. Prevalence, based on worldwide autopsy studies is approximately 10% for men in their 30s, 20% for men in their 40s, reaches 50% to 60% for men in their 60s, and is 80% to 90% for men in their 70s and 80s. Uncertainty about causes of prostate cancer and BPH, and the role of aging in development of these conditions, underscores the need for a better understanding of the natural history of prostate development.

Investigators at MMRI have discovered a gene that may play a central role in growth and development of the prostate gland, and are investigating the role regulation of this gene may play in prostate cancer and BPH. We have developed male mice that lack this gene and the protein it codes for. Studies in these mice reveal that this protein is an important factor in the normal development and function of the male reproductive tract in mice and has an essential role in the growth of the prostate and maintenance of male fertility. We are applying this understanding of normal prostate growth and function to better understand BPH and prostate cancer and identify rational targets for drug discovery.

To learn more about cancer:
National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health