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NAALADL2 Marker for Aggressive Prostate Cancer May Also Serve as a Drug Target

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Key Points

  • Prostate cancer cells have more of the NAALADL2 molecule on their surface compared to cells from healthy tissue.
  • Patients whose tumor cells have high levels of this molecule are more than twice as likely to see their disease return following surgery.
  • Researchers attached the drug saporin to an antibody targeted against NAALADL2 to destroy prostate cancer cells in the lab.

Researchers have discovered that a marker found on aggressive prostate cancer cells could also be used as a way to guide treatments to the cancer, according to new research presented by Luxton et al at the 2016 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

The molecule, called NAALADL2, is already measured to see if prostate cancer is likely to return, but the new study has shown that it can also help direct treatment to the cancer.

Findings

The team, based at University College London (UCL), had already found that prostate cancer cells have more of the NAALADL2 molecule on their surface compared to cells from healthy tissue. Prostate cancer patients whose tumor cells have high levels of this molecule are more than twice as likely to see their disease return following surgery.

In the new study, the researchers attached the drug saporin to an antibody targeted against NAALADL2 to destroy prostate cancer cells in the lab.

Hayley Luxton, PhD, lead researcher from the Molecular Diagnostics and Therapeutics Laboratory at UCL, said: “Using antibodies mounted with a toxic payload, we can exploit the fact that aggressive prostate cancer cells have more NAALADL2. The next step is to further develop this for use in patients, which we hope can be done in a relatively short time frame.”

Chris Parker, BChir, MD, FRCR, MRCP, Chair of the NCRI's Prostate Cancer Clinical Studies Group, said, “When it comes to aggressiveness, prostate cancer can either be slow-growing or much faster to grow and spread. And there is an urgent need to find better treatments for the more aggressive version of the disease. Interestingly, this study shows that the very marker that indicates a prostate tumor may be more aggressive, could also be the key to its downfall.”

The study was funded by The Urology Foundation, John Black Charitable Trust, and Cancer Research UK.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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