March 25 (HealthDay News) -- A newly identified marker for prostate cancer progression may also offer a new target for treatment, University of Michigan researchers say.
Previous research has found that decreased levels of the marker galectin-3 are linked with neoplastic progression in prostate cancer. However, increased levels of galectin-3 are believed to be associated with tumorigenicity in a number of other tumor types.
The University of Michigan team believed this difference was due to the fact that galectin-3 was cleaved during prostate cancer progression. Their study found that cleaved galectin-3 is present in a late-stage prostate cancer and that reducing levels of galectin-3 inhibited development of metastatic prostate cancer.
The findings suggest that cleaved galectin-3 may serve as a diagnostic marker and treatment target for prostate cancer progression.
The study shows "that galectin-3 is cleaved during the progression of prostate cancer and might be associated with metastasis, cell growth and tumorigenicity. Expression of intact versus cleaved galectin-3 thus might be used as a marker for prognosis of prostate cancer and a therapeutic target for the treatment of prostate cancer," wrote study author Avraham Raz and colleagues.
The study appears in the April issue of The American Journal of Pathology.
SOURCE: The American Journal of Pathology, news release, March 25, 2009