Prostate cancer is the most common noncutaneous malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer mortality in men in western countries, including Norway. Prostate cancer encompasses a biological continuum from a slow-growing indolent tumour to a highly a ggressive and potentially fatal form. A major challenge in the clinic is to identify men with localized prostate cancer who are at high risk of dying from the disease, in order to maximize disease control and survival, without overtreating men who are lik ely to die from comorbidities. Despite ongoing research and active education, the need for novel biomarkers for predicting the biologic behaviour of individual tumors remains a major issue. It is now well established that Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), the most widely used marker in the clinic, although useful, is far from an ideal marker with both high false positive and false negative rates. It is argued that PSA screening allows for the excessive detection of insignificant cancer, which is invariably overtreated in most western countries, while a substantial number of cancer diagnoses may be missed. Moreover, no single marker has been identified which indicates disease outcome. Therefore, there is an urgent need and intense focus on the development o f additional markers for prostate cancer.
The goal of this project is to assess the possible use of three genes and the proteins that they encode, as well as their interacting partners, as biomarkers for prostate cancer. All these genes have either been first cloned in our laboratory or have been implicated for prostate carcinogenesis during our studies of molecular and cell biological aspects of prostate cancer cells. Through extensive immunohistochemical analysis of human prostate cancer specimens, as well as work using mouse models of prostate cancer, we will now conclusively assess the possible utility of these genes and the proteins that they encode as biomarkers/therapeutic targets for prostate cancer.