For men with localized but aggressive prostate cancer, combining radiation and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) has been shown to make a big improvement in survival. This treatment is effective,” explains radiation oncologist Daniel Song, M.D., because of a double- whammy effect: “radiation breaks the cancer cell’s DNA, which can kill it, while hormones starve the cancer of its need for testosterone.”
Breaking the DNA strand makes the whole tumor more sensitive to radiation.
Another benefit of breaking the DNA strand: it makes the whole tumor more sensitive to radiation. “We have found that flutamide, a well-established drug that treats prostate cancer, can also produce DNA strand breaks,” Song continues. With co-principal investigators Srinivasan Yegnasubramanian, M.D., Ph.D., and Theodore DeWeese, M.D., Ph.D., “our strategy is to confirm these findings in men who have chosen to receive testosterone suppression and prostate brachytherapy,” or seed implant. In this project, men will be given a dose of flutamide before the procedure, and while they are already anesthetized for brachytherapy, they will undergo a prostate biopsy. “We will examine the biopsies to check for DNA strand breaks induced by flutamide, and if they are positive, we will move this work into a clinical trial for men with localized, aggressive prostate cancer.” Co-investigators are pathologists Angelo De Marzo, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael Haffner, M.D., and Jonathan Coulter, Ph.D., from the Department of Radiation Oncology.