Unique Metabolic Demands in Prostate: An Achilles Heel for Prostate Cancer?

Experts surmise that depriving the body of folate may slow the development and progression of prostate cancer.

Folate, or vitamin B-9, is an important component for a type of metabolism that occurs in the body’s cells. This specific metabolic process, however, occurs at a higher rate—10 times higher—in prostate tissue than other body tissues, and even higher in cancerous prostate cells. Experts surmise then that depriving the body of folate may slow the development and progression of prostate cancer. Thanks to your donations, Roswell Park researchers are exploring just that.
Dr. Dominic J. Smiraglia, PhD, associate member in the Department of Cancer Genetics, is leading research into the potential of anti-folate therapy, such as methotrexate (MTX), a drug used in treatment of other cancers as well as rheumatoid arthritis. However, the body has a fail-safe mechanism, related to an enzyme called MTAP, which helps prostate cells tolerate folate deficiency. Dr. Smiraglia’s work plans to circumvent this rescue pathway with an inhibitor of MTAP. His research will examine the effects of two different treatments, MTX and an MTAP-inhibitor, and both treatments combined in prostate cancer mouse models. |

“We expect that each treatment will significantly reduce prostate cancer growth and progression,” says Dr. Smiraglia. “But we think the combination, working synergistically, will be far better, possibly even reversing cancer growth.”
Typically, men with advanced prostate cancer undergo androgen deprivation therapy, which leads to remission for about 80% of patients, but most suffer recurrence 18 to 24 months later. Because of donations to fund research like this, Roswell Park investigators hope to learn whether using the unique metabolic demands of the prostate against itself can lead to new approaches for treatment of prostate cancer and prevention of advanced disease.