Tumours that develop in certain cells in the prostate are more aggressive than tumours originating in others, reports work published this week in Nature Cell Biology. The research suggests that tumours that originated in the luminal compartment of the prostate are generally associated with poor patient prognosis.
Michael Shen and colleagues use a mouse model of prostate cancer to show that tumours originating in different types of cells in the prostate give rise to tumours with distinctive molecular signatures. The analysis helped them conclude that tumours arising in the luminal compartment of the prostate are more aggressive than tumours originating in the basal compartment. This is the case even when tumour-promoting factors cause basal tumours to resemble luminal tumours.
The authors also used genetic tracing of cells in mouse prostate to demonstrate the plasticity of basal cell types during prostate regeneration and adult tissue homeostasis. This finding may prove important, as a subset of basal cells seem able to switch to a luminal fate if required.