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1.  Effects of Abiraterone Acetate on Androgen Signaling in Castrate-Resistant Prostate Cancer in Bone 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;30(6):637-643.
Persistent androgen signaling is implicated in castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) progression. This study aimed to evaluate androgen signaling in bone marrow–infiltrating cancer and testosterone in blood and bone marrow and to correlate with clinical observations.
Patients and Methods
This was an open-label, observational study of 57 patients with bone-metastatic CRPC who underwent transiliac bone marrow biopsy between October 2007 and March 2010. Patients received oral abiraterone acetate (1 g) once daily and prednisone (5 mg) twice daily. Androgen receptor (AR) and CYP17 expression were assessed by immunohistochemistry, testosterone concentration by mass spectrometry, AR copy number by polymerase chain reaction, and TMPRSS2-ERG status by fluorescent in situ hybridization in available tissues.
Median overall survival was 555 days (95% CI, 440 to 965+ days). Maximal prostate-specific antigen decline ≥ 50% occurred in 28 (50%) of 56 patients. Homogeneous, intense nuclear expression of AR, combined with ≥ 10% CYP17 tumor expression, was correlated with longer time to treatment discontinuation (> 4 months) in 25 patients with tumor-infiltrated bone marrow samples. Pretreatment CYP17 tumor expression ≥ 10% was correlated with increased bone marrow aspirate testosterone. Blood and bone marrow aspirate testosterone concentrations declined to less than picograms-per-milliliter levels and remained suppressed at progression.
The observed pretreatment androgen-signaling signature is consistent with persistent androgen signaling in CRPC bone metastases. This is the first evidence that abiraterone acetate achieves sustained suppression of testosterone in both blood and bone marrow aspirate to less than picograms-per-milliliter levels. Potential admixture of blood with bone marrow aspirate limits our ability to determine the origin of measured testosterone.
PMCID: PMC3295561  PMID: 22184395
2.  A New Therapy Paradigm for Prostate Cancer Founded on Clinical Observations 
Efficacy equivalent to that reported in other common adult solid tumors considered to be chemotherapy-sensitive has been reported with Docetaxel in patients with castrate-resistant prostate cancer. However, in contrast to other cancers, the expected increase in efficacy with the use of chemotherapy in earlier disease states has not been reported to date in prostate cancer. On the basis of these observations, we speculated that the therapy development paradigm used successfully in other cancers may not apply to the majority of prostate cancers. Several lines of supporting clinical and experimental observations implicate the tumor microenvironment in prostate carcinogenesis and resistance to therapy.
We conclude that a foundation to guide the development of therapy for prostate cancer is required. The therapy paradigm we propose accounts for the central role of the tumor microenvironment in bone and, if correct, will lead to microenvironment-targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC3891669  PMID: 20145177
3.  Integrated Hedgehog signaling is induced following castration in human and murine prostate cancers 
The Prostate  2012;73(2):10.1002/pros.22550.
The interplay between androgen and Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathways may be associated with prostate cancer progression and resistance to therapy.
Tissue microarrays from prostatectomy specimens were derived from 53 patients treated preoperatively with androgen ablation (AA) with or without chemotherapy, and from 26 stage- and grade-matched controls. A previously characterized androgen-regulated human prostate cancer xenograft was used to conduct parallel murine studies. Expression of markers of interest was determined on both untreated and castrated tumors.
Four-month exposure to AA or AA with chemotherapy led to a uniform increase in Hh signaling as compared to controls, paired with an inverse trend of androgen receptor (AR) and CYP17 expression in clinically derived specimens. Changes in the expression profiles of Hh signaling were observed in the epithelium and stroma, in response to genotoxic stress of androgen ablation and chemotherapy. A reduced expression of KI67and increased bcl2 expression was observed in the malignant epithelial compartment.
To our knowledge, this is the first clinical evidence that Hh signaling is induced by AA or the combination of AA and chemotherapy and, by inference, contributes to castrate-resistant progression of prostate cancer as supported by parallel human and murine studies. These data are in agreement with previous reports that implicate Hh signaling in castrate-resistant progression of prostate cancer. Based on these findings, we are pursuing parallel clinical and murine investigations to determine if Hh signaling inhibition combined with AA will be more effective than AA alone.
PMCID: PMC3878994  PMID: 22753310
Prostate cancer; preoperative treatment; Hedgehog signaling; resistance to treatment; androgen ablation
4.  Ligand-independent Activation of MET Through IGF-1/IGF-1R Signaling 
The receptor tyrosine kinase, MET, has been implicated in tumorigenesis and metastasis of many solid tumors, by multiple mechanisms, including cross talk with Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor. In this study, we examined the role of Insulin Like Growth Factor Receptor-1 (IGF-1R) signaling in MET activation, focusing on prostate cancer cells. Stimulation of the prostate cancer cell line PC3 with IGF-1 induces a delayed phosphorylation of MET at multiple sites (indicative of full activation), reaching a maximum 18h after IGF-1 addition. MET activation does not require the sole MET ligand Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), but does require transcription to occur. Furthermore, direct injection of IGF-1 is sufficient to induce MET activation in vivo, in a PC3 xenograft model. Pharmacologic or genetic inhibition of the tyrosine kinase, Src, abolishes MET phosphorylation, and expression of activated Src is sufficient to induce Met phosphorylation in the absence of IGF-1 stimulation. Activated MET is essential for IGF-1-mediated increased migration of PC3 cells, demonstrating an important biologic effect of IGF-mediated MET activation. Finally, we demonstrate that IGF-1 induced delayed MET activation occurs in multiple cell lines which express both the receptors, suggesting that IGF-1R-mediated MET activation may contribute to tumorigenic properties of multiple cancer types when both growth factor receptors are expressed. The results further suggest that MET may be activated by multiple receptor tyrosine kinase receptors, and dual targeting of these receptors may be important therapeutically.
PMCID: PMC3713179  PMID: 23526299
Prostate Cancer; IGF-1R; MET; Src; cross talk
5.  Prevalence of Pain and Analgesic Use in Men With Metastatic Prostate Cancer Using a Patient-Reported Outcome Measure 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2013;9(5):223-229.
The authors' results provide a method for estimating accruals along the disease continuum, and for enabling design of trials appropriately powered to assess pain.
Contemporary tumor-directed therapies for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) are approved to prolong life, but their effects on symptoms such as pain are less well understood as a result of the lack of analytically valid assessments of pain prevalence and severity, clinically meaningful definitions of therapeutic benefit, and methodologic standards of trial conduct. This study establishes pain characteristics in the mCRPC population using a PRO measure.
Materials and Methods:
Patients with prostate cancer participated in an anonymous survey at five US comprehensive cancer centers in the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium that incorporated the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), analgesic use, and interference with daily activities. Prevalence and severity of cancer-related pain and analgesic use were tabulated according to castration-resistant status and exposure to docetaxel chemotherapy.
Four hundred sixty-one patients with prostate cancer participated, of whom 147 had mCRPC involving bone (61% [89 of 147] docetaxel exposed, 39% [58 of 147] docetaxel naive). Pain of any level was more common among docetaxel-exposed versus docetaxel-naive patients with mCRPC (70% [62 of 89] v 38% [22 of 58], respectively; P < .001). BPI score ≥ 4 was reported by 38% (34 of 89) of docetaxel-pretreated and 24% (14 of 58) of docetaxel-naive patients with mCRPC; 40% of these patients with pain intensity ≥ 4 reported no current narcotic analgesic.
Pain prevalence and severity were higher in patients with prior docetaxel exposure. Analgesics were underutilized. These results provide a method for estimating accruals along the disease continuum, and for enabling design of trials appropriately powered to assess pain.
PMCID: PMC3994234  PMID: 23943897
6.  Usefulness of the top-scoring pairs (TSP) of genes for prediction of prostate cancer progression 
Prediction of cancer progression after radical prostatectomy (RP) is one of the most challenging problems in the management of prostate cancer. Gene-expression profiling is widely used to identify genes associated with such progression. Usually candidate genes are identified according to a gene-by-gene comparison of expression. Recent reports suggested that relative expression of a gene pair more efficiently predicts cancer progression than single-gene analysis does. The top-scoring pair (TSP) algorithm classifies phenotypes according to the relative expression of a pair of genes. We applied the TSP approach to predict which patients would experience systemic tumor progression after RP. Relative expression of TPD52L2/SQLE and CEACAM1/BRCA1 gene pairs identified those patients, with more than 99% specificity but relatively low sensitivity (~10%). These two gene pairs were validated in three independent datasets. Additionally, combining two pairs of genes improved sensitivity without compromising specificity. Functional annotation of the TSP genes demonstrated that they cluster by a limited number of biologic functions and pathways, suggesting that relatively lower expression of genes from specific pathways can predict cancer progression. In conclusion, comparative analysis of the expression of two genes may be a simple and effective classifier for prediction of prostate cancer progression. The TSP approach can be used to identify patients whose prostate cancer will progress after they undergo radical prostatectomy. Two gene pairs can predict which men would experience progression to the metastatic form of the disease. However, because our analysis was based on a relatively small number of genes, a larger study will be needed to identify the best predictors of disease outcome overall.
PMCID: PMC4136464  PMID: 20386565
prostate cancer; gene co-expression; top-scoring pairs of genes; metastasis; cancer progression
7.  Understanding the Lethal Variant of Prostate Cancer: Power of Examining Extremes! 
Cancer discovery  2011;1(6):466-468.
Small cell prostate carcinoma is a lethal variant of castration-resistant prostate cancer. Beltran and colleagues identified overexpression and amplification of both aurora kinase A (AURKA) and the MYCN proto-oncogene in the small cell prostate carcinomas, and propose Aurora A as a potential therapeutic target in this disease subset.
PMCID: PMC4133693  PMID: 22586648
8.  Molecular Classification of Prostate Cancer Progression: Foundation for Marker driven-Treatment of Prostate Cancer 
Cancer discovery  2013;3(8):849-861.
Recently, many therapeutic agents for prostate cancer (PCa) have been approved that target the androgen receptor and/or the prostate tumor microenvironment. Each of these therapies has modestly increased patient survival. However, if a better understanding as to when in the course of PCa progression specific therapies should be applied, and what biomarkers would indicate when resistance arises, survival due to these therapies would almost certainly improve. Thus, applying the armamentarium of therapeutic agents in the right sequences in the right combination at the right time is a major goal in prostate cancer treatment. For this to occur, an understanding of prostate cancer evolution during progression is required. In this review, we discuss the current understanding of PCa progression, but challenge the prevailing view by proposing a new model of PCa progression, with the goal of improving biologic classification and treatment strategies. We use this model to discuss how integrating clinical and basic understanding of PCa will lead to better implementation of molecularly-targeted therapeutics and improve patient survival.
PMCID: PMC3926428  PMID: 23811619
9.  Pharmacological inactivation of Skp2 SCF ubiquitin ligase restricts cancer stem cell traits and cancer progression 
Cell  2013;154(3):10.1016/j.cell.2013.06.048.
Skp2 E3 ligase is overexpressed in numerous human cancers and plays a critical role in cell cycle progression, senescence, metabolism, cancer progression and metastasis. In the present study, we identified a specific Skp2 inhibitor using high-throughput in silico screening of large and diverse chemical libraries. This Skp2 inhibitor selectively suppresses Skp2 E3 ligase activity, but not activity of other SCF complexes. It also phenocopies the effects observed upon genetic Skp2 deficiency, such as suppressing survival, Akt-mediated glycolysis as well as triggering p53-independent cellular senescence. Strikingly, we discovered a critical function of Skp2 in positively regulating cancer stem cell populations and self-renewal ability through genetic and pharmacological approaches. Notably, Skp2 inhibitor exhibits potent anti-tumor activities in multiple animal models and cooperates with chemotherapeutic agents to reduce cancer cell survival. Our study thus provides pharmacological evidence that Skp2 is a promising target for restricting cancer stem cell and cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC3845452  PMID: 23911321
10.  Platinum-Based Chemotherapy for Variant Castrate-Resistant Prostate Cancer 
Clinical features characteristic of small-cell prostate carcinoma (SCPC), (““anaplastic””) often emerge during the progression of prostate cancer. We sought to determine the efficacy of platinum-based chemotherapy in patients meeting at least one of seven prospectively defined “anaplastic” clinical criteria, including exclusive visceral or predominantly lytic bone metastases, bulky tumor masses, low PSA levels relative to tumor burden or short response to androgen deprivation therapy.
Experimental Design
A 120-patient phase II trial of frontline carboplatin and docetaxel (CD) and second-line etoposide and cisplatin (EP) was designed to provide reliable clinical response estimates under a Bayesian probability model with early stopping rules in place for futility and toxicity.
Seventy-four of 113 (65.4%) and 24 of 71 (33.8%) were progression free after 4 cycles of CD and EP, respectively. Median overall survival (OS) was 16 months (95% CI, 13.6-19.0 months). Of the 7 “anaplastic” criteria, bulky tumor mass was significantly associated with poor outcome. Lactic acid dehydrogenase (LDH) strongly predicted for OS and rapid progression. Serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) concentration strongly predicted OS but not rapid progression. Neuroendocrine markers did not predict outcome or response to therapy.
Our findings support the hypothesis that patients with “anaplastic” prostate cancer are a recognizable subset characterized by a high response rate of short duration to platinum-containing chemotherapies, similar to SCPC. Our results suggest that CEA is useful for selecting therapy in men with CRPC and consolidative therapies to bulky high-grade tumor masses should be considered in this patient population.
PMCID: PMC3699964  PMID: 23649003
Small-cell; neuroendocrine; castration-resistant; prostate carcinoma; platinum chemotherapy
11.  Dasatinib inhibits both osteoclast activation and prostate cancer PC-3 cell-induced osteoclast formation 
Cancer biology & therapy  2009;8(22):2153-2159.
Therapies to target prostate cancer bone metastases have only limited effects. New treatments are focused on the interaction between cancer cells, bone marrow cells and the bone matrix. Osteoclasts play an important role in the development of bone tumors caused by prostate cancer. Since Src kinase has been shown to be necessary for osteoclast function, we hypothesized that dasatinib, a Src family kinase inhibitor, would reduce osteoclast activity and prostate cancer (PC-3) cell-induced osteoclast formation.
Dasatinib inhibited RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation of bone marrow-derived monocytes with an EC50 of 7.5 nM. PC-3 cells, a human prostate cancer cell line, were able to differentiate RAW 264.7 cells, a murine monocytic cell line, into osteoclasts and dasatinib inhibited this differentiation. In addition, conditioned medium from PC-3 cell cultures was able to differentiate RAW 264.7 cells into osteoclasts and this too, was inhibited by dasatinib. Even the lowest concentration of dasatinib, 1.25 nmol, inhibited osteoclast differentiation by 29%. Moreover, dasatinib inhibited osteoclast activity by 58% as measured by collagen 1 release.
Experimental design
We performed in vitro experiments utilizing the Src family kinase inhibitor dasatinib to target osteoclast activation as a means of inhibiting prostate cancer bone metastases.
Dasatinib inhibits osteoclast differentiation of mouse primary bone marrow-derived monocytes and PC-3 cell-induced osteoclast differentiation. Dasatinib also inhibits osteoclast degradation activity. Inhibiting osteoclast differentiation and activity may be an effective targeted therapy in patients with prostate cancer bone metastases.
PMCID: PMC4073296  PMID: 19855158
osteoclast; Src; prostate cancer; dasatinib; PC-3
12.  Increased Serum Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Levels are Associated with Prolonged Response to Dasatinib-based Regimens in Metastatic Prostate Cancer 
The Prostate  2013;73(9):979-985.
Dasatinib, an inhibitor of Src-family kinases, combined with docetaxel in men with castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), affects bone turnover markers in a phase I/II clinical trial in metastatic CRPC. Only a subset of men benefit from this therapy, and predictive markers are lacking. We hypothesized a role for insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) as a predictive marker, since IGF-1 is important in both prostate cancer progression and bone development. Hence, we determined the association of IGF-1 expression to treatment response, and whether this expression resulted from tumor cells, the microenvironment, or their interactions.
We measured serum IGF-1 levels in men with CRPC treated with dasatinib plus docetaxel. To investigate the source of IGF-1, we utilized two different mouse models harboring human prostate cancer cells, and used species-specific IGF-1 ELISA kits (mouse vs. human).
In men with CRPC, an increase in IGF-1 levels after one cycle of treatment with dasatinib and docetaxel is associated with a higher response rate and longer duration of treatment. Xenograft experiments with subcutaneous and intratibial injection of prostate cancer cells suggest that direct interaction of prostate cancer cells with bone microenvironment is necessary for IGF-1 induction, is entirely host-derived, and occurs only in mice that respond to dasatinib-based therapy.
Our results support a role for serum IGF-1 as a potential biomarker for benefit from dasatinib-based combination treatments in CRPC.
PMCID: PMC4013833  PMID: 23371521
predictive marker; Src inhibition; bone microenvironment; docetaxel; xenograft
13.  The Role of HGF/c-Met Signaling in Prostate Cancer Progression and c-Met Inhibitors in Clinical Trials 
An increasing number of basic, translational and clinical studies demonstrate the importance of the protein tyrosine kinase receptor, c-Met, in the progression of prostate cancer. c-Met is overexpressed in primary prostate cancers, further increased in expression in bone metastases and is associated with development of castrate resistant disease. Because of its importance as a target, c-Met inhibitors have reached clinical trial for advanced, castrate resistant prostate cancer.
Areas covered
In this review, altered expression of c-Met and HGF in prostate tumors and the microenvironment and how they contribute to growth and invasion of prostate cancer cells is described. Next, preclinical studies providing the support for use of c-Met inhibitors are discussed. Finally, early promising results from c-Met inhibitors in clinical trial, and future prospects for c-Met inhibitors in the treatment of advanced stage prostate cancer are discussed.
Expert opinion
An emerging theme in treating metastatic prostate cancer is the requirement to target both the epithelial and stromal compartments. Results from clinical trials suggest that inhibitors of c-Met that block stromal-mediated c-Met activation in prostate tumors may be important therapeutic agents in at least a subset of patients with metastatic prostate cancer. However, as many of the inhibitors have multiple targets, the efficacy of targeting c-Met alone remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC4020016  PMID: 22035268
c-Met; HGF; prostate cancer
14.  Targeting Constitutively Activated β1 Integrins inhibits Prostate Cancer Metastasis 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2013;11(4):405-417.
Disseminated prostate cancer (PCa) cells must survive in circulation for metastasis to occur. Mechanisms by which these cells survive are not well understood. By immunohistochemistry of human tissues, we found that levels of β1 integrins and integrin-induced autophosphorylation of FAK (pFAK-Y397) are increased in PCa cells in primary PCa and lymph node metastases, suggesting that β1 integrin activation occurs in metastatic progression of PCa. A conformation-sensitive antibody, 9EG7, was used to examine β1 integrin activation. We found that β1 integrins are constitutively activated in highly metastatic PC3 and PC3-mm2 cells, with less activation in low metastatic LNCaP and C4-2B4 cells. Increased β1 integrin activation as well as the anoikis resistance in PCa cells correlated with metastatic potential in vivo. Knockdown of β1 integrin abrogated anoikis resistance in PC3-mm2 cells. In agreement with β1 integrin activation, PC3-mm2 cells strongly adhered to type I collagen and fibronectin, a process inhibited by the β1 integrin neutralizing antibody mAb 33B6. mAb 33B6 also inhibited the phosphorylation of β1 integrin downstream effectors, focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and AKT, leading to a 3-fold increase in PC3-mm2 apoptosis. Systemic delivery of mAb 33B6 suppressed spontaneous metastasis of PC3-mm2 from the prostate to distant lymph nodes following intra-prostatic injection and suppressed metastasis of PC3-mm2 to multiple organs following intra-cardiac injection. Thus, constitutively activated β1 integrins play a role in survival of PC3-mm2 cells in circulation and represent a potential target for metastasis prevention.
PMCID: PMC3631285  PMID: 23339185
prostate cancer; metastasis; integrin; extracellular matrix; collagen; fibronectin
15.  Persistent, Biologically Meaningful Prostate Cancer After 1 Year of Androgen Ablation and Docetaxel Treatment 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(18):2574-2581.
Clinicians are increasingly willing to treat prostate cancer within the primary site in the presence of regional lymph node or even limited distant metastases. However, no formal study on the merits of this approach has been reported. We used a preoperative clinical discovery platform to prioritize pathways for assessment as therapeutic targets and to test the hypothesis that the primary site harbors potentially lethal tumors after aggressive treatment.
Patients and Methods
Patients with locally advanced or lymph node–metastatic prostate cancer underwent 1 year of androgen ablation and three cycles of docetaxel therapy, followed by prostatectomy. All specimens were characterized for stage by accepted criteria. Expression of select molecular markers implicated in disease progression and therapy resistance was determined immunohistochemically and compared with that in 30 archived specimens from untreated patients with high-grade prostate cancer. Marker expression was divided into three groups: intracellular signaling pathways, stromal-epithelial interaction pathways, and angiogenesis.
Forty patients were enrolled, 30 (75%) of whom underwent prostatectomy and two (5%) who underwent cystoprostatectomy. Twenty-nine specimens contained sufficient residual tumor for inclusion in a tissue microarray. Immunohistochemical analysis showed increased epithelial and stromal expression of CYP17, SRD5A1, and Hedgehog pathway components, and modulations of the insulin-like growth factor I pathway.
A network of molecular pathways reportedly linked to prostate cancer progression is activated after 1 year of therapy; biomarker expression suggests that potentially lethal cancers persist in the primary tumor and may contribute to progression.
PMCID: PMC3138635  PMID: 21606419
16.  Modeling A Lethal Prostate Cancer Variant with Small Cell Carcinoma Features 
Small-cell prostate carcinoma (SCPC) morphology predicts for a distinct clinical behavior, resistance to androgen ablation, and frequent but short responses to chemotherapy. We sought to develop model systems that reflect human SCPC and can improve our understanding of its biology.
Experimental Design
We developed a set of CRPC xenografts and examined their fidelity to their human tumors of origin. We compared the expression and genomic profiles of SCPC and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) xenografts to those of typical prostate adenocarcinoma xenografts. Results were validated immunohistochemically in a panel of 60 human tumors.
The reported SCPC and LCNEC xenografts retain high fidelity to their human tumors of origin and are characterized by a marked upregulation of UBE2C and other mitotic genes in the absence of AR, retinoblastoma (RB1) and cyclin D1 (CCND1) expression. We confirmed these findings in a panel of CRPC patients' samples. In addition, array comparative genomic hybridization of the xenografts showed that the SCPC/LCNEC tumors display more copy number variations than the adenocarcinoma counterparts. Amplification of the UBE2C locus and microdeletions of RB1 were present in a subset, but none displayed AR nor CCND1 deletions. The AR, RB1, and CCND1 promoters showed no CpG methylation in the SCPC xenografts.
Modeling human prostate carcinoma with xenografts allows in-depth and detailed studies of its underlying biology. The detailed clinical annotation of the donor tumors enables associations of anticipated relevance to be made. Futures studies in the xenografts will address the functional significance of the findings.
PMCID: PMC3923417  PMID: 22156612
castration resistance prostate cancer; small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma; retinoblastoma; UBE2C; cyclin D1
17.  When “Dueling Technologies” are Mistaken for Progress 
BJU international  2011;107(11):1699-1700.
PMCID: PMC3922611  PMID: 21592278
18.  In Silico Functional Profiling of Individual Prostate Cancer Tumors: Many Genes, Few Functions 
Cancer genomics & proteomics  2012;9(3):109-114.
Identification of genes that are differently expressed is a common approach used to analyze genetic mechanisms underlying cancer development. However, recent study results suggest that many such genes relate to a small number of biological functions. We hypothesized that analysis of these functions provides a better understanding of tumor biology than does actual identification of these genes does.
Materials and Methods
We re-analyzed publicly available gene expression data for paired samples of prostate tumor and adjacent normal tissue from the same patients to identify genes differently expressed in individual tumors and then used them to identify the functions.
We found significant interindividual variation in the type and the number of functions. After adjusting for redundancy and nonspecificity of the functional terms, we identified seven functions. Several of them showed a strong association with clinical traits, e.g. age at diagnosis, preoperative prostate-specific antigen concentration, Gleason grade, and biochemical recurrence. Actin cytoskeleton was the function most frequently associated with clinical traits. Of note, the association between function and clinical traits was much stronger than that between the genes differently expressed and those traits.
Different prostate tumors differ in their functional profiles. Functions of differently expressed genes are strongly associated with clinical traits. This suggests that analysis of functions of differently expressed genes may provide a better description of tumor biology than does analysis of the respective genes.
PMCID: PMC3922615  PMID: 22593245
Gene expression; prostate cancer; in silico; functional profiling; functionality index
19.  Dasatinib Combined With Docetaxel For Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Results From a Phase 1/2 Study 
Cancer  2011;118(1):63-71.
To determine the potential efficacy of targeting both the tumor and bone microenvironment in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), we conducted a phase 1/2 trial combining docetaxel with dasatinib, an oral SRC inhibitor.
In phase 1, 16 men received dasatinib 50–120 mg once daily (QD) and docetaxel 60–75 mg/m2 every 21 days (Q21D). In phase 2, 30 additional men received dasatinib 100 mg QD/docetaxel 75 mg/m2 Q21D. Efficacy endpoints included changes in prostate-specific antigen (PSA), measurable disease, bone scans, and markers of bone metabolism. Safety and pharmacokinetics were also studied.
Combination dasatinib and docetaxel therapy was generally well tolerated. Thirteen of 46 patients (28%) had a grade 3/4 toxicity. Drug–drug interactions and a maximum tolerated dose were not identified. Durable 50% PSA declines occurred in 26/46 patients (57%). Of 30 patients with measurable disease, 18 (60%) had a partial response. Fourteen patients (30%) had disappearance of a lesion on bone scan. In bone-marker assessments, 33/38 (87%) and 26/34 (76%) had decreases in urinary N-telopeptide or bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels, respectively. Twenty-eight patients (61%) received single-agent dasatinib following docetaxel discontinuation and had stabilization of disease for an additional 1–12 months.
The high objective response rate and favorable toxicity profile are promising and justify randomized studies of docetaxel and dasatinib in CRPC. Parallel declines in levels of PSA and bone markers are consistent with co-targeting of epithelial and bone compartments of the cancer. Treatment with single-agent dasatinib following docetaxel cessation warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC3898168  PMID: 21976132
Dasatinib; Docetaxel; Prostate Cancer; Metastases; Bone
Identifying genes associated with cancer development is typically accomplished by comparing mean expression values in normal and tumor tissues, which identifies differentially expressed (DE) genes. Interindividual variation (IV) in gene expression is indirectly included in DE gene identification because given the same absolute differences in means, genes with lower variance tend to have lower P values. We explored the direct use of IV in gene expression to identify candidate genes associated with cancer development. We focused on prostate (PCa) and lung (LC) cancers and compared IV in the expression level of genes shown to be cancer related with that in all other genes in the human genome. Compared with all those other genes, cancer-related genes tended to have greater IV in normal tissues and a greater increase in IV during the transition from normal to tumorous tissue. Genes without significantly different mean expression values between tumor and normal tissues but with greater IV in tumor than in normal tissue (note: the DE-based approach completely ignores those genes) had stronger associations with clinically important features like Gleason score in PCa or tumor histology in LC than all other genes were. Our results suggest that analyzing IV in gene expression level is useful in identifying novel candidate genes associated with cancer development.
PMCID: PMC3893106  PMID: 22809348
Gene expression; interindividual variation in gene expression; prostate cancer; lung cancer
21.  Randomized Phase 3 Trial of Abiraterone Acetate in Men with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer and No Prior Chemotherapy 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;368(2):138-148.
Abiraterone acetate, an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor, improves overall survival (OS) in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) post-chemotherapy. Many mCRPC patients never receive chemotherapy and thus cannot benefit from abiraterone acetate; we evaluated this agent in mCRPC patients who had not received chemotherapy.
In this double-blind study, 1088 patients were randomized 1:1 to abiraterone acetate (1000 mg) plus prednisone (5 mg twice daily) or placebo plus prednisone. Co-primary end points were radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS) and OS. Secondary end points measured clinically relevant landmarks of mCRPC progression. Patient-reported outcomes included pain progression and quality of life.
The study was unblinded after a planned interim analysis (IA) at 43% of OS events. Treatment with abiraterone acetate-prednisone resulted in a 57% reduction in the risk of radiographic progression or death (hazard ratio [HR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.35 to 0.52; P<0.001; 13% OS events IA) and an estimated 25% decrease in the risk of death (HR, 0.75; 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.93; P=0.009; 43% OS events IA). Secondary end points supported superiority of abiraterone acetate-prednisone: time to cytotoxic chemotherapy initiation, opiate use for cancer-related pain, prostate-specific antigen progression (all P<0.001) and performance status deterioration (P=0.005). Self-reported time to pain progression and patient functional status degradation favored abiraterone acetate-prednisone (P=0.05 and P=0.003). Grade 3/4 mineralocorticoid-related adverse events and liver function test abnormalities were more common with abiraterone acetate-prednisone.
Abiraterone acetate produces OS and rPFS benefits, as well as significant delays in clinical deterioration and initiation of chemotherapy, in mCRPC.
PMCID: PMC3683570  PMID: 23228172
Abiraterone acetate; prednisone; metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; androgen; CYP17
22.  Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer Xenografts with Large-cell and Small-cell Features Derived from a Single Patient’s Tumor: Morphological, Immunohistochemical and Gene Expression Profiles 
The Prostate  2010;71(8):10.1002/pros.21301.
Small-cell carcinoma (SCC) of the prostate is an AR-negative variant of prostate cancer found at progression in 10–20% of castrate-resistant disease. Its finding predicts a distinct clinical course and a poor prognosis. Large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) is a much rarer variant that behaves similarly to SCC. The biological mechanisms that drive these disease variants are poorly understood.
Eight tumor fragments from the salvage pelvic exenteration specimen of a patient with castrate-resistant prostate carcinoma were subcutaneously implanted into 6- to 8-week-old male CB17 SCID mice. Serial tissue sections and tissue microarrays of the resulting MDA PCa 144 xenograft lines were used for histopathologic and immunohistochemical characterization of the xenografts and their tissue of origin. RNA from two representative xenograft sublines was used for gene-expression profiling.
All eight fragments formed tumors: four of the MDA PCa 144 xenograft sublines had morphologic characteristics of SCC and four, of LCNEC. All retained high fidelity to their parent tumor tissue, which remained stable through serial passages. Morphological transitions in the specimen of origin suggested LCNEC represents an intermediate step between adenocarcinoma and SCC. Over 2,500 genes were differentially expressed between the SCC (MDA PCa 144-13) and the LCNEC (MDA PCa 144-4) sublines and enriched in “Nervous System Development” Gene Ontology subtree.
The eight xenograft models described represent the spectrum of neuroendocrine carcinomas in prostate cancer and will be valuable preclinical tools to study the pathogenesis of and therapy targets for this increasingly recognized subset of lethal prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3883511  PMID: 21456067
castrate-resistant; cancer; androgen-independent; neural development; array
International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics  2012;85(1):10.1016/j.ijrobp.2012.08.036.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the prognostic value of prostate specific antigen (PSA) response to neoadjuvant androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) prior to dose-escalated radiation therapy (RT) and long-term ADT in high-risk prostate cancer.
Methods and Materials
We reviewed the charts of all patients diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer and treated with a combination of long-term ADT (median, 24 months) and dose-escalated (median, 75.6 Gy) RT between 1990 and 2007. The association of patient, tumor and treatment characteristics with biochemical response to neoadjuvant ADT, and their effect on failure-free survival (FFS), time to distant metastasis (TDM), prostate cancer-specific mortality (PCSM) and overall survival (OS) were examined.
A total of 196 patients met the criteria for inclusion. Median follow up time for patients alive at last contact was 7.0 years (range, 0.5–18.1 years). Multivariate analysis identified the pre-radiation therapy PSA level (pre-RT PSA; <0.5 vs. ≥0.5 ng/ml) as a significant independent predictor of FFS (p=0.021), TDM (p=0.009), PCSM (p=0.039) and OS (p=0.037). On multivariate analysis, pre-treatment PSA (iPSA) and African-American race were significantly associated with failure to achieve a pre-RT PSA <0.5 ng/ml.
For high-risk prostate cancer patients treated with long-term ADT and dose-escalated RT, a pre-RT PSA level ≥0.5 ng/ml after neoadjuvant ADT predicts for worse survival measures. Both elevated iPSA and Afrian-American race are associated with increased risk of having a pre-RT PSA level ≥0.5 ng/ml. These patients should be considered for clinical trials testing newer more potent androgen depleting therapies such as abiraterone and MDV3100 in combination with radiation.
PMCID: PMC3840533  PMID: 23102837
pre-RT PSA; androgen deprivation therapy; radiation therapy; prostate cancer
24.  Modified Logistic Regression Models Using Gene Coexpression and Clinical Features to Predict Prostate Cancer Progression 
Predicting disease progression is one of the most challenging problems in prostate cancer research. Adding gene expression data to prediction models that are based on clinical features has been proposed to improve accuracy. In the current study, we applied a logistic regression (LR) model combining clinical features and gene co-expression data to improve the accuracy of the prediction of prostate cancer progression. The top-scoring pair (TSP) method was used to select genes for the model. The proposed models not only preserved the basic properties of the TSP algorithm but also incorporated the clinical features into the prognostic models. Based on the statistical inference with the iterative cross validation, we demonstrated that prediction LR models that included genes selected by the TSP method provided better predictions of prostate cancer progression than those using clinical variables only and/or those that included genes selected by the one-gene-at-a-time approach. Thus, we conclude that TSP selection is a useful tool for feature (and/or gene) selection to use in prognostic models and our model also provides an alternative for predicting prostate cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC3866878  PMID: 24367394
25.  Phase II Study of Abiraterone Acetate Plus Prednisone in Chemotherapy-Naïve Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Demonstrating Radiographic Flare Discordant With Serologic Measures of Response 
Abiraterone is an oral inhibitor of CYP17, essential for androgen biosynthesis. This multicenter study assessed its efficacy in patients with CRPC without prior exposure to chemotherapy or CYP17 targeted therapy, and assessed the frequency of interpretation of bone scans discordant with PSA and clinical response.
Patients and Methods
33 patients received abiraterone acetate 1000 mg daily with prednisone 5 mg twice daily in continuous 28-day cycles. Patients were evaluated monthly for efficacy and safety. Bone scan flare was defined as the combination, after 3 months of therapy, of an interpreting radiologist's report indicating “disease progression” in the context of a ≥50% decline in PSA, with scan improvement 3 months later.
A ≥ 50% PSA decline at week 12 was confirmed in 22/33 (67%) patients. PSA declines of ≥ 50% were seen in 26 (79%) patients. Undetectable PSA levels (≤ 0.1 ng/mL) occurred in 2 patients. Median time on therapy and time to PSA progression are 63 and 71 weeks, respectively. Twenty three patients were evaluable for bone scan flare. Progression was indicated in the radiologist's report in 12/23 (52 %), and 10/12 subsequently showed improvement. As prospectively defined, bone scan flare was observed in 10/23 (43.5%) evaluable patients or 10/33 (30%) enrolled patients. Adverse events were typically grade 1/2 and consistent with prior published abiraterone reports.
Clinical response to abiraterone acetate plus prednisone was frequent and durable in men with metastatic CRPC progressing on hormonal therapy with over half of patients on therapy > 1 year. Further investigation is needed to clarify the potential confounding effect of the frequently occurring bone scan flare phenomena on patient management and interpretation of clinical trial results.
PMCID: PMC3657705  PMID: 21632851
abiraterone acetate; castration-resistant prostate cancer; CRPC; hormone-resistant prostate cancer; therapy; efficacy

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