Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Signaling Pathways Involved in Prostate Cancer

Technology #3312

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Jill A. Macoska
Managed By
Ed Pagani
Associate Director, Health Technologies 734-763-3558
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending


After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men. An estimated 220,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2007. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men with a death rate of approximately 27,000 patients per year. The levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) are often high in men with prostate cancer. However, PSA can also be high with other prostate conditions such as prostatitis (a bacterial infection) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Early and accurate detection of prostate cancer is critical in treatment and a more favorable prognosis.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new method for the treatment and diagnosis of prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). The researchers have demonstrated that cytokines CXCL12 and CXCL5 stimulate the proliferation of pre-malignant and malignant prostate epithelial cells. The levels of the cytokines can be detected at pico molar concentrations in serum and can distinguish between different prostatic diseases. Detection of the cytokines at such low concentrations can provide for an early diagnosis. The cytokine receptors may also serve as therapeutic targets for prostate cancer and BPH. Inhibition of the receptors may reduce the activity of CXCL5 and CXCL12 and may provide an alternative to current therapies for BPH such as hormone deprivation.

Applications and Advantages


  • Treatment and diagnosis of prostate cancer and BPH


  • New therapy may have less side effects compared to currently used treatments. It may also be effective in cases where other treatments are only marginally successful.