The gene, not previously known to be a tumor suppressor, most likely plays a role in regulating and maintaining normal tissue organization. The researchers have shown that the gene, known as EphB2, is inactivated in prostate cancer. This is the first time abnormalities in the gene have been linked to cancer. They believe loss of the gene's function leads to disorganization of cells and also encourages the growth and survival of prostate cancer cells.
"This finding provides critical insight into the factors that cause prostate cancer, which can be used for development of additional diagnostics and therapeutics for prostate cancer," said Dr. Spyro Mousses, head of TGen's Cancer Drug Development Laboratory and the paper's senior author. "Much additional research is warranted to determine the extent of its involvement in prostate cancer and other cancers as well."
"These findings represent a significant advancement in prostate cancer research, as the number of current treatment options for advanced prostate cancer remains limited," said Dr. John Carpten, Senior Investigator at TGen, Director of its Genetic Basis of Human Disease Division, and Head of the TGen Prostate Cancer Research Unit. "The discovery of mutations in this gene allows us the opportunity to explore a new path towards treating a significant number of men with advanced prostate cancer. As TGen's mission is to translate laboratory findings into the clinic, we hope to use this information to ultimately help provide prostate cancer patients more treatment options and a better quality of life."