Prostate cancer’s link to fetal development of the gland

Monday, July 20, 2020 - 14:10 in Health & Medicine

When prostate cancer progresses to a more-dangerous metastatic state, it does so by resurrecting dormant molecular mechanisms that had guided the fetal development of the prostate gland but had been subsequently switched off, say scientists from Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The study, an international collaboration with The Netherlands Cancer Institute, was published in Nature Genetics. “It shows that particular programs that were operative during prostate fetal development become reactivated during metastatic disease,” said Matthew Freedman, a Dana-Farber medical oncologist and co-corresponding author of the report. “The reactivation of these programs is presumably important for the spread of the disease, and if we could understand it better, and potentially block or inhibit the process, it may help us to suppress metastatic prostate disease.” The insight, gained from one of the largest studies of charting the epigenetic landscape in normal, cancerous, and metastatic prostate tissues, could lay the groundwork for identifying ways of slowing or preventing the...

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