Scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) report that fat cells support the progression of prostate cancer and could be a key target in new treatments. Findings of their preclinical study appeared in the journal Oncogene.
The prostate is a male reproductive organ and prostate cancer develops mainly in older men and in African-American men.
“Our results demonstrate that interaction with cells of fat tissue makes cancer cells more migratory and more resistant to chemotherapy,” said Mikhail Kolonin, PhD, the study’s senior author and director of the Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
Kolonin’s research focused on stem cells of fat tissue (adipose stromal cells). Previously his group discovered that these cells support tumor-nourishing blood vessels. Their new study investigated how prostate tumors use adipose stromal cells to invade surrounding tissues and fight off popular prostate cancer medications such as docetaxel, cabazitaxel, and cisplatin.
Kolonin and colleagues conducted experiments with cultured human cells and with mouse models of obesity-associated prostate cancer. They used an experimental drug called D-CAN that they had previously developed that kills adipose stromal cells. “The prostate cancer was significantly less resistant to chemotherapy upon D-CAN treatment,” Kolonin said.
“Our data, demonstrating that adipose stromal cell depletion enhances chemotherapy at a non-toxic dose in mouse models, may pave the way to combination therapies with lower side effects and improved anti-cancer efficacy,” the researchers report.
About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and the disease is rare before age 40, according to the American Cancer Society. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 66.
Kolonin’s collaborators include first author Fei Su, PhD, of UTHealth; and Songyeon Ahn; Achinto Saha, PhD; and John DiGiovanni, PhD, of the Dell Pediatric Research Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.
The study, titled “Adipose stromal cell targeting suppresses prostate cancer epithelial mesenchymal transition and chemoresistance,” was supported by the National Institutes of Health grants (R21 CA216745, R01 CA196259) and the Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Foundation.
Kolonin’s laboratory is in the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases at UTHealth.
Kolonin is the Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Distinguished University Chair in Metabolic Disease Research at McGovern Medical School. He is also on the faculty of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
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Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Audie Murphy. By the end of World War II, he became one of the most decorated soldiers in the United States Army.Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, 16-year-old Audie Murphy attempted to enlist with the United States Marine Corps. After being turned down from the Marines for being too short, Audie successfully managed to enlist with the United States Army. He then received basic training at Camp Wolters, Texas and advanced infantry training at Fort Meade, Maryland.Audie began his combat tour in the Mediterranean theater with B Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division under Major General Lucian Truscott. There, he participated in the assault on Arzew, Algeria, the Allied assaults on Sicily, and the invasions of mainland Italy.After the Allied victory over Italy, Audie and the 15th Infantry Regiment joined the Allied push through France. On Jan. 26, 1945, near the village of Holtzwihr in eastern France, Audie’s forward positions came under fierce attack by German forces. Against the onslaught of six Panzer tanks and 250 infantrymen, Audie ordered his men to fall back to better their defenses. Alone, he mounted an abandoned burning tank destroyer and, with a single machine gun, contested the enemy's advance. Wounded in the leg during the heavy fire, Audie remained there for nearly an hour, repelling the attack of German soldiers on three sides and single-handedly killing 50 of them. His courageous performance stalled the German advance and allowed him to lead his men in the counterattack which ultimately drove the enemy from Holtzwihr. For this he was awarded the Medal of Honor.Following the war, Audie had a 21-year acting career, including his performance in the 1955 autobiographical film, To Hell and Back. Throughout his life, Audie struggled with what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by his experiences in Europe. Audie died in 1971 in a plane crash near Catawba, Virginia. He is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.Today, on National Medal of Honor Day, we honor his service.