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The dark side of mast cell-targeted therapy in prostate cancer

The dark side of mast cell-targeted therapy in prostate cancer

Cancer Research 72(4): 831-835

Tumor development requires accomplices among white blood cells. Other than macrophages, mast cells have been observed to support the outgrowth of certain neoplasias because of their proangiogenic properties. In some tumor settings, however, mast cells may have a protective role, exerted by their proinflammatory mediators. In prostate cancer, no conclusive data on mast cell function were available. Here, we discuss recent work on the role of mast cells in mouse and human prostate cancer, showing that mast cells can behave alternatively as dangerous promoters, innocent bystanders, or essential guardians of tumors, according to the stage and origin of transformed cells. In particular, mast cells are essential for the outgrowth of early-stage tumors due to their matrix metalloproteinase-9 production, become dispensable in advanced-stage, post-epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and are protective against neuroendocrine prostate tumor variants. The common expression of c-Kit by mast cells and neuroendocrine clones suggests a possible competition for the ligand Stem cell factor and offers the chance of curing early-stage disease while preventing neuroendocrine tumors using c-Kit-targeted therapy. This review discusses the implications of these findings on the advocated mast cell-targeted cancer therapy and considers future directions in the study of mast cells and their interactions with other c-Kit-expressing cells.

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Accession: 056280489

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PMID: 22307838

DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3110

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