NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE: A single “precursor” cancer cell may be responsible for the spread of prostate cancer and eventual death of the patient, according to a paper in the latest Journal.
A recent study by Liu and colleagues has shown that metastases in prostate cancer have a common origin — that is, they originate from the same clone.
If the single lesion harboring this metastatic clone could be accurately identified and then targeted, it seems likely that the side effects of treatment for prostate cancer would be reduced.
The key question thus remains: Does the index lesion harbour the single precursor cell that gives rise to progression, metastases, and death?
Even if the index lesion is not the culprit, researchers must now focus on identifying the one that does harbor the metastatic clone.
Once a means of identification can be determined, clinical trials will be warranted to investigate the effect of ablating that single lesion.
A positive result would have important implications for men with prostate cancer who currently endure much treatment-related harm.