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Promise and Progress - Personalized Prostate Cancer Approach

Promise & Progress - A Spectrum of Achievements

Personalized Prostate Cancer Approach

Date: January 15, 2015

Luo and Antanorakis
Jun Luo and Emmanuel Antonarakis

New England Journal of Medicine, Sept. 3, 2014

New research findings from the Kimmel Cancer Center and Brady Urological Institute may provide a personalized treatment approach for patients with advanced prostate cancer.  The investigators found that prostate tumors that contained a shortened androgen receptor protein known as AR-V7 may not respond to two drugs commonly used to treat prostate cancers that have spread.

The protein can be detected in blood.  If these findings are confirmed in larger studies, the investigators say men with detectable blood levels of AR-V7 should avoid enzalutamide and abiraterone in favor of other medicines.  

The drugs work well in about 80 percent of prostate cancer patients, and this finding could help identify those most likely to benefit and facilitate improved treatment for the 20 percent who do not benefit.  “Until now, we haven’t been able to predict which patients will not respond to these therapies,” says Emmanuel Antonarakis, M.D., assistant professor of oncology. “A blood test could use AR-V7 as a biomarker to predict drug resistance and let us direct patients who test positive for AR-V7 away from futile therapy and toward other types of therapy sooner.”

Antanorakis collaborated with Jun Luo, Ph.D., associate professor of urology, who first identified AR-V7 in his laboratory in 2007.

Research funding was provided by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (CA058236, CA006973)

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