Theraputic target for prostate cancer

The report, entitled Cytosolic Phospholipase A2-: A Potential Therapeutic Target for Prostate Cancer, describes the possible role of an enzyme called cPLA2- in prostate cancer and its potential to be a treatment target for prostate cancers that no longer respond to hormone-related therapy.

Hormone-related therapy is the first line of treatment for more advanced prostate cancers as prostate cancer cells usually rely on male hormones to grow. Some prostate cancers become insensitive to hormone-related therapy after initially responding to it.

Over the past 50 years, the dietary intake of omega-6 fatty acids has increased substantially, relative to that of omega-3 fatty acids, in Western countries.

We are what we eat - dietary omega-6 fatty acids end up in our cells where they are released by the enzyme cPLA2- and converted into inflammatory chemicals. Inflammatory chemicals can contribute to the development and progression of prostate cancer due to their roles in promoting cell and blood vessel growth.

Dr Qihan Dong and his research group hypothesised that, since a reduction of omega-6 or an increase in omega-3 fatty acid intake might decrease prostate cancer development and progression, blocking cPLA2- activity could have a therapeutic effect in treating advanced prostate cancer.

"cPLA2- is found in all prostate cancer cells. Not only is cPLA2- increased in hormone-insensitive cells; inhibition of cPLA2- results in a significant reduction in prostate cancer cell numbers, due to reduced proliferation (cell growth) and increased apoptosis (cell death)," said co-author Dr Qihan Dong from the University of Sydney. Drugs that inhibit cPLA2- could be effective in treating hormone refractory prostate cancer.

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