Despite great progress in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer, this disease remains an incredible health and economic burden. Although androgen receptor (AR) signaling plays a key role in the development and progression of prostate cancer, aberrations in other molecular pathways also contribute to the disease, making it essential to identify and develop drugs against novel targets, both for the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. One promising target is the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) protein. PPARγ was originally thought to act as a tumor suppressor in prostate cells because agonist ligands inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells; however, additional studies found that PPARγ agonists inhibit cell growth independent of PPARγ. Furthermore, PPARγ expression increases with cancer grade/stage, which would suggest that it is not a tumor suppressor but instead that PPARγ activity may play a role in prostate cancer development and/or progression. Indeed, two new studies, taking vastly different, unbiased approaches, have identified PPARγ as a target in prostate cancer and suggest that PPARγ inhibition might be useful in prostate cancer prevention and treatment. These findings could lead to a new therapeutic weapon in the fight against prostate cancer.
By Catherine Elix, Sumanta K Pal & Jeremy O Jones