Prostate cancer is one of the most common malignancies in men. It is highly treatable in early stages; however, once the cancer becomes metastatic, it cannot be cured.
In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Fillippo Giancotti and colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, demonstrate that a significant fraction of advanced, hormone refractory prostate cancers express high levels of the protein β4 integrin.
Using a mouse model of prostate cancer, Giancotti and colleagues found that loss of the β4 integrin gene significantly inhibited prostate tumor growth and progression by blocking activation of the oncogenic proteins ErbB2 and c-Met, which are responsible for sustaining prostate cancer stem cells.
In a companion commentary Max Wicha of the University of Michigan discusses how targeting of these proteins could be a useful therapeutic strategy for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.
TITLE:β4 Integrin signaling induces expansion of prostate tumor progenitors
ACCOMPANYING COMMENTARY:B4 Androgen ablation: Attacking the prostate cancer stem cell