October 19, 2021

Combo therapy slows prostate cancer

A new combination treatment showed promise in slowing the growth of castration-resistant prostate cancer in animal models, Vanderbilt researchers discovered.

by Leigh MacMillan

Despite the success of anti-androgen treatment for metastatic prostate cancer, nearly all patients will eventually progress to castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). 

Ren Jie Jin, PhD, and colleagues previously found that long-term anti-androgen treatment increases the expression of the neuroendocrine hormone, GRP, and its receptor, GRP-R, in prostate cancer cells. They showed that GRP/GRP-R signaling promotes the expression of androgen receptor splice variants (which are active in the presence of anti-androgen drugs) and cancer progression to CRPC. 

In studies reported in Translational Oncology, they now demonstrate that blocking GRP-R signaling with a selective antagonist efficiently inhibits the expression of androgen receptor splice variants and sensitizes CRPC cells to anti-androgen treatment. In animal models, combining the GRP-R antagonist with anti-androgen treatment slowed the growth of both CRPC and therapy-induced neuroendocrine prostate cancer. 

The findings support the potential of this combination therapy as a new approach for treating CRPC.

This research was supported by the Ferring Innovation Grant from the Ferring Research Institute and by the W. L. Bray Endowment.