Inflammation may be implicated in spread of prostate cancer

April 4, 2007

Inflammation may strongly affect metastasis of prostate cancer, according to researchers from the University of California, San Diego. Their findings may result in development of new drugs to block prostate cancer metastasis.

Inflammation may strongly affect metastasis of prostate cancer, according to researchers from the University of California, San Diego. Their findings may result in development of new drugs to block prostate cancer metastasis.

The research, which used mouse models of prostate cancer confirmed in human tissue, involved a protein kinase called IκB kinase-α (IκK-α). This protein kinase was found to reduce expression of a gene named Maspin, which has anti-metastatic activity. Researchers found that Maspin production is repressed by events activated by tumor inflammatory cells, leading to the spread of prostate cancer cells.

“Our findings suggest that promoting inflammation of the cancerous tissue-for instance, by performing prostate biopsies-may, ironically, hasten progression of metastasis,” said senior author Michael Karin, PhD. “We have shown that proteins produced by inflammatory cells are the ‘smoking gun’ behind prostate cancer metastasis. The next step is to completely indict one of them.”

The study was published last month in the online edition of Nature.