About half of prostate cancer patients could potentially benefit from a new class of cancer-fighting drugs, a new study involving an Indian-origin researcher has suggested.
The drugs, called PARP inhibitors, are currently being tested in breast cancer patients with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are found in up to 10 percent of all breast cancers.
Half of prostate cancers have a genomic rearrangement that causes the fusion of two genes that believed to be the triggering event of prostate cancer.
"This type of gene fusion occurs in about 50 percent of prostate cancers, but the genes involved have been notoriously difficult to target therapeutically. We found that instead of targeting the gene fusion product directly, we could block the function of critical interacting partners, such as PARP1," said Arul Chinnaiyan, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher, director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology and S.P. Hicks Professor of Pathology at the U-M Medical School.
"Our studies suggest that the total population of patients who could benefit from PARP inhibition could be significantly expanded," says Chad Brenner, who is the first author on the study.
The study was recently published in the journal Cancer Cell.