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Targeting MLL complex in CRPC

4/3/2015

Resistance to androgen deprivation therapies and increased androgen receptor (AR) activity are major drivers of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Although prior work has focused on targeting AR directly, co-activators of AR signaling, which may represent new therapeutic targets, are relatively under-explored. MCTP researchers and colleagues demonstrated that the mixed-lineage leukemia protein (MLL) complex, a well-known driver of MLL fusion-positive leukemia, acts as a co-activator of AR signaling. AR directly interacts with the MLL complex via the menin-MLL subunit. Menin expression is higher in CRPC than in both hormone-naive prostate cancer and benign prostate tissue, and high menin expression correlates with poor overall survival of individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer. Treatment with a small-molecule inhibitor of menin-MLL interaction blocked AR signaling and inhibited the growth of castration-resistant tumors in mice. Taken together, this work identifies the MLL complex as a crucial co-activator of AR and a potential therapeutic target in advanced prostate cancer. The results of this study was published in Nature Medicine.

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