Paracrine processes in prostate cancer progression

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Advanced prostate cancer is often treated with androgen withdrawal therapy, which blocks the growth-promoting effects of androgens (such as testosterone). Unfortunately, the cancer eventually progresses to an androgen-independent state, allowing for tumour growth without androgens. Dr. Michael Cox is studying how prostate tumour cells with neuroendocrine characteristics contribute to the disease’s progression to androgen independence. His research aims to understand how these cells develop within prostate tumours, what effect such cells have on the growth rate of prostate tumours, and how hormones secreted by these cells influence therapeutic resistance and metastatic preferences during disease progression. Dr. Cox is also working to determine the molecular mechanisms by which prostate tumour cells develop genetic mutations and become less susceptible to cancer treatment. He is identifying how tumour cells respond to growth factors in the presence or absence of testosterone and the cellular changes that allow prostate tumour cells to utilize these growth factors to aid development of testosterone independence.