Cancer can be perceived as a disease resulting from breakdown of communication between and within cells. While there are many different effects, the changes in mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways play a profound role. Cancerous mutations in these pathways frequently affect Ras and Raf in the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway. Recent discoveries of activating mutations in human tumors have highlighted the importance of the Raf pathway in the proliferation and survival of tumor cells. In addition to a role in controlling tumors with Ras mutations and activated growth factor receptors, inhibitors of the Raf pathway may harbor therapeutic potential in tumors carrying a BRAF oncogene. These findings are especially significant, as presently accurate diagnostics for the detection of metastatic prostate cancer are lacking. Identification of genes that are involved in the invasive process of malignant prostate cells are desirable for defining therapeutic targets, as inactivating a critical component in the metastatic cascade will prevent primary cancers from migrating.
The researchers at the University of Michigan identified a protein, RKIP, involved in the Raf kinase signaling pathway. The present invention relates to compositions and methods for cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, including but not limited to, Raf kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP) cancer markers and RKIP pathway modulators. Expression of RKIP is down-regulated in metastatic prostate cancer cells but upregulated in normal prostate and localized cancer cells. The expression levels of RKIP may be used for screening primary cancers for metastatic potential and a target for inhibiting metastasis in prostate cancer. The invention provides modulators and methods of using RKIP in the treatment and diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Applications and Advantages
- Screening primary cancers for-nl-metastatic potential
- Inhibiting metastasis in cancer (and in-nl-prostate cancer in particular).
- Biomarker for characterization of-nl-stage of cancer
- New biological targets for controlling-nl-cancer metastasis
- Supplements currently available-nl-screening methods