U.S. medical scientists have identified the first immune molecule that appears to play a role in prostate cancer development and progression.
This discovery will allow physicians to individualize treatment and observation plans for prostate cancer patients, said Mayo Clinic Dr. Timothy Roth, lead author of the study. Being able to tell a patient his specific risk after surgery, and perhaps even prior to surgery, will be a huge step forward.
The scientists determined the molecule, called B7-H3, remains attached to the surface of prostate cancer cells and does not appear to migrate, thus becoming an attractive therapeutic target. The researchers said they believe B7-H3 kills or paralyzes immune cells that are trying to attack the cancer.
The findings indicate B7-H3 may prove useful as a diagnostic, prognostic and even therapeutic tool because it is increasingly displayed by tumor cells as prostate cancers develop — even after initiation of anti-hormone therapy, which is the most common treatment for advanced prostate cancer.
The study is detailed in the current issue of the journal Cancer Research.