Prostate cancer (PCa) patients who have the Endo180 protein present in their tumors tend to have a more aggressive form of the disease, according to recent studies from The University of Hull.
Additionally, researchers led by Justin Sturge, PhD, found that 65% of these patients died within 5 years of diagnosis compared to only 39% who do not have the protein, suggesting that Endo180 contributes to thousands of PCa deaths.
They found that in healthy prostate cells without cancer, Endo180 was bound to another molecule called CD147, and this binding completely suppressed the cells from being fatal.
“It’s a real Jekyll and Hyde scenario,” Dr. Sturge said. “When we broke the two molecules apart, Endo180 completely flipped its role and actively encouraged cells to break away from each other, which is the deadly feature of those cancers that start to spread to other parts of the body.”
Further research has shown that physical changes in prostate tissue during aging can trigger this deadly switch in the Endo180 protein.
“We’ve not only shown that Endo180 is a strong predictive marker for survival in patients with PCa, but we’ve also uncovered a new mechanism involving this same molecule, and a potential new way to monitor and target the disease,” Dr. Sturge concluded.
Researchers who have uncovered the ‘monstrous’ hidden nature of a molecule involved in prostate cancer say the findings could herald a new form of personalised medicine for patients, with doctors able to use the same molecular target for diagnosis and treatment. In a series of two papers just published*, researchers at The University of Hull have shown that prostate cancer patients who have Endo180 protein present in their tumours tend to have more severe disease.
Around 65 per cent of men with Endo180 positive tumours died within 5 years of diagnosis, compared to just 39 per cent who did not have Endo180. These results suggest that Endo180 contributes to thousands of prostate cancer deaths. And the team have also uncovered why this might be.