Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have uncovered a new cause of treatment resistance in prostate cancer that may improve future therapy.
Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the United States and is the third leading cause of cancer death in men, according to the American Cancer Society.
The study, published Monday in Nature Medicine, analyzes the role of mutations in the SPOP gene, the most common genetic mutations seen in primary prostate cancer, making it resistant to a specific class of drugs.
Researchers found that the mutations are responsible for the development of BET-inhibitors resistance. BET -- bromodomain and extra-terminal domain -- inhibitors are a class of drugs that halt the action of BET proteins that cause the abnormal growth of cancer cells.
"These findings have important implications for prostate cancer treatment, because SPOP mutation or elevated BET protein expression can now be used as biomarkers to improve outcome of BET inhibitor-oriented therapy of prostate cancer with SPOP mutation or BET protein overexpression," Haojie Huang, molecular biologist with the Mayo Clinic's Center for Biomedical Discovery, said in a press release.
The discovery will help researchers create more targeted treatments for prostate cancer.