Skip to main content

Prostate cancer microenvironment

Mar. 23, 2021, 8:00 AM

by Leigh MacMillan

Gleason grade is one of the strongest prognostic indicators of prostate cancer aggressiveness and a critical parameter for clinical decision-making. Cribriform morphology — a sieve-like pattern of empty spaces — is associated with worse outcomes independent of Gleason grade. 

While previous studies have focused on the genetic and molecular changes in cribriform tumor cells, Paula Hurley, PhD, Jennifer Gordetsky, MD, and colleagues have now characterized cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in the tumor microenvironment. 

They analyzed prostate tissue sections for the expression of fibroblast markers. They reported in The Journal of Pathology: Clinical Research that fibroblast subtypes enriched in prostate cancer were highly heterogeneous and that gene expression was distinctly altered in CAF subtypes adjacent to cribriform prostate cancer. 

The findings suggest that cribriform prostate cancer has a unique tumor microenvironment that distinguishes it from other Gleason grade 4 architectures and lower Gleason grades. The distinct CAFs may influence tumor progression and could point to new therapeutic targets.

This research was supported by the American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health (grants CA211695, CA009592, CA009582) and Eckstein Foundation.

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

Vanderbilt Medicine
VUMC Voice