Purpose: Clinicians are increasingly willing to treat prostate cancer within the primary site in the presence of regional lymph node or even limited distant metastases. However, no formal study on the merits of this approach has been reported. We used a preoperative clinical discovery platform to prioritize pathways for assessment as therapeutic targets and to test the hypothesis that the primary site harbors potentially lethal tumors after aggressive treatment. Patients and Methods: Patients with locally advanced or lymph node - metastatic prostate cancer underwent 1 year of androgen ablation and three cycles of docetaxel therapy, followed by prostatectomy. All specimens were characterized for stage by accepted criteria. Expression of select molecular markers implicated in disease progression and therapy resistance was determined immunohistochemically and compared with that in 30 archived specimens from untreated patients with high-grade prostate cancer. Marker expression was divided into three groups: intracellular signaling pathways, stromal-epithelial interaction pathways, and angiogenesis. Results: Forty patients were enrolled, 30 (75%) of whom underwent prostatectomy and two (5%) who underwent cystoprostatectomy. Twenty-nine specimens contained sufficient residual tumor for inclusion in a tissue microarray. Immunohistochemical analysis showed increased epithelial and stromal expression of CYP17, SRD5A1, and Hedgehog pathway components, and modulations of the insulin-like growth factor I pathway. Conclusion: A network of molecular pathways reportedly linked to prostate cancer progression is activated after 1 year of therapy; biomarker expression suggests that potentially lethal cancers persist in the primary tumor and may contribute to progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research