Keyword Tag Sort by

Categories: Prostate Cancer Androgen receptor AR CAMKK2 Glucose Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase 2 Prostate Specific Antigen PSA

Preventing prostate cancer cells from 'bodybuilding' provides new treatment hope

Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered that stopping prostate cancer cells from ‘bulking up’ with nutrients reduces the spread of the disease and tumour size, according to research published today in EMBO Journal.

Prostate cancer is partly driven by cell signals from the androgen receptor (AR) protein AR. One gene regulated by AR’s signals is the well-known prostate cancer biomarker, Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). But the full network of genes controlled in this way is not yet known.

Scientists from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute at the University of Cambridge searched through the DNA in prostate cancer cells to identify genes controlled by AR and find new potential ways to detect and treat the disease.

The team identified a number of AR-controlled genes, including the gene that codes for the enzyme CAMKK2*** which controls glucose consumption in cells.

The other genes were also mainly linked to metabolism – the generation of energy, and controlled cancer cells’ ability to absorb glucose. High levels of glucose are required by cancer cells for growth and division and to power important ‘construction’ work to produce cellular building blocks - fats, proteins, DNA and RNA.

They discovered that there were unusually high levels of CAMKK2 in prostate cancer cells.

The team then showed in mice that stopping both the production and activity of CAMKK2, blocked the spread of prostate cancer cells and reduced the tumour size. Measuring levels of the enzyme could also be used as a ‘biomarker’ or test to detect prostate cancer.

Lead author, Dr Ian Mills, said: “We’ve discovered a network of genes which control how prostate cancer cells ‘bulk up’ before they divide. And importantly we’ve shown that blocking one of these genes will starve the cancer cells of vital nutrients – and reduce tumour size and spread of the disease.

“More research to understand how prostate cancer cells generate energy could open up new routes to detect and treat the disease.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK with around 37,000 cases diagnosed each year.

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer information, said: “Cancer Research UK is a major funder of research into prostate cancer in the UK - transforming our understanding of the disease and how best to detect and treat it.

“And this important study shows that investigating the way prostate cancer cells use and generate energy could provide a promising new route to search for ways to detect and treat different stages of the disease, to continue to improve survival from prostate cancer in the future.”

***CAMKK2 - Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase 2.

Reference: The androgen receptor fuels prostate cancer by regulating central metabolism and biosynthesis. Massie et al. EMBO Journal.

Contact: Cancer Research UK press office, Tel: 020 3469 8300, Email:

Source: Cancer Research UK

Related News:

Mapping of cancer cell fuel pumps paves the way for new drugs 29 April 2013, 03:26
For the first time, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have managed to obtain detailed images...

Pioneering drug for advanced prostate cancer has major benefit for... 12 December 2012, 03:51
 A drug already set to transform care for men with advanced prostate cancer has impressive...

Prostate cancer now detectable using imaging-guided biopsy, UCLA... 11 December 2012, 04:34
Groundbreaking research by a team of UCLA physicians and engineers shows that prostate cancer...

FDA clears ACCU-CHEK Inform II, Roche’s new hospital... 16 October 2012, 04:32
Basel, 16 October 2012 -- Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced today that it has...

Scientists Develop ‘Barcode’ Blood Test For Aggressive Prostate... 9 October 2012, 02:43
Scientists have designed a blood test that reads genetic changes like a barcode – and can pick...

Researchers Identify Risk Markers for Erectile Dysfunction... 28 September 2012, 05:09
(BRONX, NY) –In the first study of its kind, a research team led by Albert Einstein College of...

New Study Confirms Erroneous Link Between XMRV and Prostate... 19 September 2012, 04:59
Study Confirms Erroneous Link Between Prostate Cancer and Retrovirus from Mice.A once-promising...

York cancer scientists discover link between prostate cancer and... 4 September 2012, 14:07
Cancer scientists at the University of York have shown a link between prostate cancer and vitamin...

Epigenetic Causes of Prostate Cancer 4 September 2012, 14:02
Researchers observe modified methylation patterns in a group of prostate cancers.September 04,...

Tea Drinkers at Greater Risk of Prostate Cancer 19 June 2012, 02:56
Men who are heavy tea drinkers may be more likely to develop prostate cancer, according to...