Prostate Cancer, ATR

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Expand Collapse Prostate Cancer  - General Description This year about 220,800 men in the U.S. will be told by a doctor that they have prostate cancer. About half will be at least 67 years old. However, 10 times as many men (2.5 million) are alive today after having been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located behind the rectum and under the bladder. It is the part of a man's reproductive system that produces some of the fluids that make up semen, which carries sperm out of the body. Nearly all primary prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas, which begin in cells that line certain internal organs and produce mucus or other fluids.

Prostate cancer (and other tumors) can spread (metastasize) from the place where it started (the primary tumor) in 3 ways. First, it can invade the normal tissue surrounding it. Second, cancer cells can enter the lymph system and travel through lymph vessels to distant parts of the body. Third, the cancer cells can get into the bloodstream and go to other places in the body. In these distant places, the cancer cells cause secondary tumors to grow. The main sites to which prostate cancer spreads are the bones, lungs and liver. Some patients live a long time even after prostate cancer has spread to distant sites.

To find out whether prostate cancer has entered the lymph system, a surgeon may perform a pelvic lymphadenectomy to remove the lymph nodes in the pelvis. A pathologist looks at these lymph node tissues through a microscope to see if cancer cells are present. Several kinds of imaging technologies can also be performed to determine if prostate cancer has spread. These include bone scans, MRI and CT scans.

Despite significant improvements in the treatment of prostate cancers, novel therapies and treatment strategies are needed.

Source: National Cancer Institute, 2015
Carcinoma of the prostate is predominantly a tumor of older men, which frequently responds to treatment when widespread and may be cured when localized. The rate of tumor growth varies from very slow to moderately rapid, and some patients may have prolonged survival even after the cancer has metastasized to distant sites such as bone. Because the median age at diagnosis is 72 years, many patients, especially those with localized tumors, may die of other illnesses without ever having suffered significant disability from the cancer. The approach to treatment is influenced by age and coexisting medical problems. Side effects of various forms of treatment should be considered in selecting appropriate management. Controversy exists in regard to the value of screening, the most appropriate staging evaluation and the optimal treatment of each stage of the disease.

A complicating feature when evaluating survival after treatment, or when comparing the various treatment strategies, is that improved diagnostic methods can increasingly identify non-lethal tumors. Non-randomized comparisons of treatments may be confounded not only by patient-selection factors, but also by time trends. For example, a population-based study in Sweden showed that from 1960 to the late 1980s, before the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for screening purposes, long-term relative survival rates after the diagnosis of prostate cancer improved substantially as more sensitive methods of diagnosis were introduced. This occurred despite the use of watchful waiting or palliative hormonal treatment as the most common treatment strategies for localized prostate cancer during the entire era (<150 radical prostatectomies per year were performed in Sweden during the late 1980s). The investigators estimated that if all cancers diagnosed between 1960 and 1964 were of the lethal variety, then at least 33% of cancers diagnosed between 1980 and 1984 were of the non-lethal variety. With the advent of PSA screening, the ability to diagnose non-lethal prostate cancers may increase further.

Another issue complicating comparisons of outcomes among non-concurrent series of patients is the possibility of changes in criteria for histologic diagnosis of prostate cancer. This phenomenon creates a statistical artifact that can produce a false sense of therapeutic accomplishment and may also lead to more aggressive therapy. For example, prostate biopsies from a population-based cohort of 1,858 men diagnosed with prostate cancer from 1990 through 1992 were re-read in 2002 to 2004. The contemporary Gleason score readings were an average of 0.85 points higher (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 0.91; P<0.001) than the same slides read in 1990 to 1992. As a result, Gleason score-standardized prostate cancer mortality for these men was artifactually improved from 2.08 to 1.50 deaths per 100 person years. This resulted in a 28% decrease, even though overall outcomes were unchanged.

Source: National Cancer Institute, 2012
This year about 220,800 men in the U.S. will be told by a doctor that they have prostate cancer. About half will be at least 67 years old. However, 10 times as many men (2.5 million) are alive today after having been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located behind the rectum and under the bladder. It is the part of a man's reproductive system that produces some of the fluids that make up semen, which carries sperm out of the body. Nearly all primary prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas, which begin in cells that line certain internal organs and produce mucus or other fluids.

Prostate cancer (and other tumors) can spread (metastasize) from the place where it started (the primary tumor) in 3 ways. First, it can invade the normal tissue surrounding it. Second, cancer cells can enter the lymph system and travel through lymph vessels to distant parts of the body. Third, the cancer cells can get into the bloodstream and go to other places in the body. In these distant places, the cancer cells cause secondary tumors to grow. The main sites to which prostate cancer spreads are the bones, lungs and liver. Some patients live a long time even after prostate cancer has spread to distant sites.

To find out whether prostate cancer has entered the lymph system, a surgeon may perform a pelvic lymphadenectomy to remove the lymph nodes in the pelvis. A pathologist looks at these lymph node tissues through a microscope to see if cancer cells are present. Several kinds of imaging technologies can also be performed to determine if prostate cancer has spread. These include bone scans, MRI and CT scans.

Despite significant improvements in the treatment of prostate cancers, novel therapies and treatment strategies are needed.

Source: National Cancer Institute, 2015
Carcinoma of the prostate is predominantly a tumor of older men, which frequently responds to treatment when widespread and may be cured when localized. The rate of tumor growth varies from very slow to moderately rapid, and some patients may have prolonged survival even after the cancer has metastasized to distant sites such as bone. Because the median age at diagnosis is 72 years, many patients, especially those with localized tumors, may die of other illnesses without ever having suffered significant disability from the cancer. The approach to treatment is influenced by age and coexisting medical problems. Side effects of various forms of treatment should be considered in selecting appropriate management. Controversy exists in regard to the value of screening, the most appropriate staging evaluation and the optimal treatment of each stage of the disease.

A complicating feature when evaluating survival after treatment, or when comparing the various treatment strategies, is that improved diagnostic methods can increasingly identify non-lethal tumors. Non-randomized comparisons of treatments may be confounded not only by patient-selection factors, but also by time trends. For example, a population-based study in Sweden showed that from 1960 to the late 1980s, before the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for screening purposes, long-term relative survival rates after the diagnosis of prostate cancer improved substantially as more sensitive methods of diagnosis were introduced. This occurred despite the use of watchful waiting or palliative hormonal treatment as the most common treatment strategies for localized prostate cancer during the entire era (<150 radical prostatectomies per year were performed in Sweden during the late 1980s). The investigators estimated that if all cancers diagnosed between 1960 and 1964 were of the lethal variety, then at least 33% of cancers diagnosed between 1980 and 1984 were of the non-lethal variety. With the advent of PSA screening, the ability to diagnose non-lethal prostate cancers may increase further.

Another issue complicating comparisons of outcomes among non-concurrent series of patients is the possibility of changes in criteria for histologic diagnosis of prostate cancer. This phenomenon creates a statistical artifact that can produce a false sense of therapeutic accomplishment and may also lead to more aggressive therapy. For example, prostate biopsies from a population-based cohort of 1,858 men diagnosed with prostate cancer from 1990 through 1992 were re-read in 2002 to 2004. The contemporary Gleason score readings were an average of 0.85 points higher (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 0.91; P<0.001) than the same slides read in 1990 to 1992. As a result, Gleason score-standardized prostate cancer mortality for these men was artifactually improved from 2.08 to 1.50 deaths per 100 person years. This resulted in a 28% decrease, even though overall outcomes were unchanged.

Source: National Cancer Institute, 2012
Expand Collapse ATR  - General Description
CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION
The protein encoded by ATR is a serine/threonine kinase and DNA damage sensor, activating cell cycle checkpoint signaling and causing a pause in the cell cycle following DNA replication stress or damage. The activated protein can phosphorylate and activate several important proteins that are involved in the inhibition of DNA replication and cell division, which are critical for DNA repair.

The maintenance of intact, correctly sequenced DNA is vital to the life of a cell. If there are mistakes made in replicating DNA before cell division, subsequent daughter cells will have inaccurate or damaged DNA, and may either die or carry mutations that can contribute to the development of cancer. For this reason, cells have evolved multiple pathways to repair mistakes in-or damage to- DNA. The specific repair pathway used by the cell depends on the type of DNA damage that has occurred. The types of DNA repair that we are focusing on relate directly to cancer. These involve a break in BOTH strands of DNA, which can be the result of ionizing radiation or other DNA damaging agents. This type of DNA damage is called Double Strand Breaks (DSB's). There are two main pathways used by cells to repair DSB's in DNA, one is Homologous Recombination (HR), the other is Non-Homologous End Joining (NHEJ). This page of our website focuses on the HR pathway (there is a separate web page for NHEJ repair if you select PKcs from the gene list when you sign on to this page).

Many proteins are involved in the complex HR pathway to repair DSB's in DNA. There is a graphic above that depicts the HR pathway (if you click on the graphic, it will enlarge and become a bit easier to follow). While complicated, the DSB at the top right of the graphic is acted upon by a series of proteins in the circle of steps shown that ultimately lead to the complete and accurate repair of the DSB in the DNA.

Some of the proteins involved in the HR DSB repair pathway are MRE11, NBS1, RAD50. These three proteins make up the MRN complex. This complex detects DSB's in the DNA. Once the DSB is found by the MRN complex, the MRN complex functions with BRCA1 and CtIP to resect the DSB’s to form single stranded DNA “tails”. Meanwhile, DSB's also activate the ATM protein, which in turn acts upon CHK2 to activate it, as well as directly activating the tumor suppressor TP53. TP53 can cause cell cycle delay, giving the cell time to repair DNA breaks or mistakes before the cell cycle leading to division resumes. In the next step, RPA binds to the single stranded DNA "tails" that have been created by BRCA1 and CtIP in conjunction with the MRN. The binding of RPA activates another protein called ATR. ATR has many important functions, including activating CHK1, which can cause cell cycle delay giving cells time to repair DNA. ATR also regulates BRCA1 which recruits a bound group of proteins including PALB2/BRCA2/RAD51. In the next step, RAD51 displaces the RPA that is on the single stranded DNA, with the involvement of BRCA2/PALB2 and RAD51c. BRCA1/BARD1 helps RAD51 coated single stranded DNA invade double stranded DNA with homologous sequences to form a DNA repair loop. With the help of DNA polymerases, the repair loop creates the opportunity to use the intact homologous DNA as a template to correctly repair DSB’s. Enzymes called ligases reconnect the ends of the DNA, leading to complete and accurate repair of the DSB in DNA.

After studying familial cancer syndromes, germline or inherited BRCA1 and BRCA2 were identified a while ago as proteins that when altered by mutation, cause certain cancers. Some BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes become mutated somatically, meaning in a non-inherited way. When either gene is mutated, the resulting protein cannot perform its role in DNA repair correctly. This turns out to be true for other proteins in the HR pathway as well. Recently, scientists have found mutations in many of the other genes that encode the proteins involved in the HR pathway. Mutations in HR pathway members include MRE11, NBS1, RAD50, ATM, CHK2, BRCA1, PALB2, RAD51, BRCA2, BARD1, and RAD51c (these are depicted in red in the above graphic). This remarkable number of mutations in proteins involved in the DNA repair pathway found in cancer highlights how important the HR DSB DNA repair pathway is in cells. The mutations in HR pathway proteins result in proteins that do not function properly in their role in DNA repair. Without proper function of the proteins involved in DNA repair, DNA mistakes or breaks are not properly repaired, and the damaged DNA contributes to the development of cancer.

ATR is only rarely mutated in cancer, however, the frequent mutations in ATM result in cells that are completely reliant on the ATR pathway to repair DSB's in the DNA. This has therapeutic implications for treatment of tumors that have mutations in the HR DNA repair pathway.

Testing for mutations in the many genes/proteins involved in DNA repair discussed above is available in the MGH genetics lab. Treatment as well as clinical trials studying new drugs that target defects in these proteins-including ATR- are available at the MGH Cancer Center.

The protein encoded by ATR is a serine/threonine kinase and DNA damage sensor, activating cell cycle checkpoint signaling and causing a pause in the cell cycle following DNA replication stress or damage. The activated protein can phosphorylate and activate several important proteins that are involved in the inhibition of DNA replication and cell division, which are critical for DNA repair.

The maintenance of intact, correctly sequenced DNA is vital to the life of a cell. If there are mistakes made in replicating DNA before cell division, subsequent daughter cells will have inaccurate or damaged DNA, and may either die or carry mutations that can contribute to the development of cancer. For this reason, cells have evolved multiple pathways to repair mistakes in-or damage to- DNA. The specific repair pathway used by the cell depends on the type of DNA damage that has occurred. The types of DNA repair that we are focusing on relate directly to cancer. These involve a break in BOTH strands of DNA, which can be the result of ionizing radiation or other DNA damaging agents. This type of DNA damage is called Double Strand Breaks (DSB's). There are two main pathways used by cells to repair DSB's in DNA, one is Homologous Recombination (HR), the other is Non-Homologous End Joining (NHEJ). This page of our website focuses on the HR pathway (there is a separate web page for NHEJ repair if you select PKcs from the gene list when you sign on to this page).

Many proteins are involved in the complex HR pathway to repair DSB's in DNA. There is a graphic above that depicts the HR pathway (if you click on the graphic, it will enlarge and become a bit easier to follow). While complicated, the DSB at the top right of the graphic is acted upon by a series of proteins in the circle of steps shown that ultimately lead to the complete and accurate repair of the DSB in the DNA.

Some of the proteins involved in the HR DSB repair pathway are MRE11, NBS1, RAD50. These three proteins make up the MRN complex. This complex detects DSB's in the DNA. Once the DSB is found by the MRN complex, the MRN complex functions with BRCA1 and CtIP to resect the DSB’s to form single stranded DNA “tails”. Meanwhile, DSB's also activate the ATM protein, which in turn acts upon CHK2 to activate it, as well as directly activating the tumor suppressor TP53. TP53 can cause cell cycle delay, giving the cell time to repair DNA breaks or mistakes before the cell cycle leading to division resumes. In the next step, RPA binds to the single stranded DNA "tails" that have been created by BRCA1 and CtIP in conjunction with the MRN. The binding of RPA activates another protein called ATR. ATR has many important functions, including activating CHK1, which can cause cell cycle delay giving cells time to repair DNA. ATR also regulates BRCA1 which recruits a bound group of proteins including PALB2/BRCA2/RAD51. In the next step, RAD51 displaces the RPA that is on the single stranded DNA, with the involvement of BRCA2/PALB2 and RAD51c. BRCA1/BARD1 helps RAD51 coated single stranded DNA invade double stranded DNA with homologous sequences to form a DNA repair loop. With the help of DNA polymerases, the repair loop creates the opportunity to use the intact homologous DNA as a template to correctly repair DSB’s. Enzymes called ligases reconnect the ends of the DNA, leading to complete and accurate repair of the DSB in DNA.

After studying familial cancer syndromes, germline or inherited BRCA1 and BRCA2 were identified a while ago as proteins that when altered by mutation, cause certain cancers. Some BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes become mutated somatically, meaning in a non-inherited way. When either gene is mutated, the resulting protein cannot perform its role in DNA repair correctly. This turns out to be true for other proteins in the HR pathway as well. Recently, scientists have found mutations in many of the other genes that encode the proteins involved in the HR pathway. Mutations in HR pathway members include MRE11, NBS1, RAD50, ATM, CHK2, BRCA1, PALB2, RAD51, BRCA2, BARD1, and RAD51c (these are depicted in red in the above graphic). This remarkable number of mutations in proteins involved in the DNA repair pathway found in cancer highlights how important the HR DSB DNA repair pathway is in cells. The mutations in HR pathway proteins result in proteins that do not function properly in their role in DNA repair. Without proper function of the proteins involved in DNA repair, DNA mistakes or breaks are not properly repaired, and the damaged DNA contributes to the development of cancer.

ATR is only rarely mutated in cancer, however, the frequent mutations in ATM result in cells that are completely reliant on the ATR pathway to repair DSB's in the DNA. This has therapeutic implications for treatment of tumors that have mutations in the HR DNA repair pathway.

Testing for mutations in the many genes/proteins involved in DNA repair discussed above is available in the MGH genetics lab. Treatment as well as clinical trials studying new drugs that target defects in these proteins-including ATR- are available at the MGH Cancer Center.



PubMed ID's
27617969, 24003211, PMC2988877
Expand Collapse ATR  in Prostate Cancer
Alterations in the gene encoding ATR are not found in prostate cancers. ATR is an important protein in the DNA repair pathway. ATR controls a signaling pathway in the cell by activating CHK1, which causes a delay in the cell cycle (see graphic above). Without this delay, cells would not have time to repair broken or damaged DNA. The accumulation of damaged DNA in the cell can lead to cancer.

ATR has become an important protein to inhibit with drugs in cancer. Cancer cells often have genetic alterations in other proteins in the DNA repair pathway (see red proteins in graphic above). If the ATM protein is mutated and unable to cause cell cycle arrest for DNA repair, then ATR is the only option for cancer cells to use to delay the cell cycle and repair DNA. Drugs targeting ATR block this pathway, leaving cancer cells no way to pause the cell cycle to achieve DNA repair. The tumor cells die as the result of accumulated damaged or broken DNA.

Alterations in the gene encoding ATR are not found in prostate cancers. ATR is an important protein in the DNA repair pathway. ATR controls a signaling pathway in the cell by activating CHK1, which causes a delay in the cell cycle (see graphic above). Without this delay, cells would not have time to repair broken or damaged DNA. The accumulation of damaged DNA in the cell can lead to cancer.

ATR has become an important protein to inhibit with drugs in cancer. Cancer cells often have genetic alterations in other proteins in the DNA repair pathway (see red proteins in graphic above). If the ATM protein is mutated and unable to cause cell cycle arrest for DNA repair, then ATR is the only option for cancer cells to use to delay the cell cycle and repair DNA. Drugs targeting ATR block this pathway, leaving cancer cells no way to pause the cell cycle to achieve DNA repair. The tumor cells die as the result of accumulated damaged or broken DNA.

Expand Collapse No mutation selected
The mutation of a gene provides clinicians with a very detailed look at your cancer. Knowing this information could change the course of your care. To learn how you can find out more about genetic testing please visit http://www.massgeneral.org/cancer/news/faq.aspx or contact the Cancer Center.
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Your Matched Clinical Trials

Trial Matches: (D) - Disease, (G) - Gene
Trial Status: Showing Results: 1-10 of 16 Per Page:
12Next »
Protocol # Title Location Status Match
NCT03016312 A Study of Atezolizumab (Anti-PD-L1 Antibody) in Combination With Enzalutamide in Participants With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostrate Cancer (mCRPC) After Failure of an Androgen Synthesis Inhibitor And Failure of, Ineligibility For, or Refusal of a Taxane Regimen A Study of Atezolizumab (Anti-PD-L1 Antibody) in Combination With Enzalutamide in Participants With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostrate Cancer (mCRPC) After Failure of an Androgen Synthesis Inhibitor And Failure of, Ineligibility For, or Refusal of a Taxane Regimen MGH Open D
NCT02467361 A Study of BBI608 Administered in Combination With Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Adult Patients With Advanced Cancers A Study of BBI608 Administered in Combination With Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Adult Patients With Advanced Cancers MGH Open D
NCT02950064 A Study to Determine the Safety of BTP-114 for Treatment in Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors With BRCA Mutations A Study to Determine the Safety of BTP-114 for Treatment in Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors With BRCA Mutations MGH Open D
NCT02531516 An Efficacy and Safety Study of JNJ-56021927 (Apalutamide) in High-risk Prostate Cancer Subjects Receiving Primary Radiation Therapy: ATLAS An Efficacy and Safety Study of JNJ-56021927 (Apalutamide) in High-risk Prostate Cancer Subjects Receiving Primary Radiation Therapy: ATLAS MGH Open D
NCT02854436 An Efficacy and Safety Study of Niraparib in Men With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer and DNA-Repair Anomalies An Efficacy and Safety Study of Niraparib in Men With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer and DNA-Repair Anomalies MGH Open D
NCT01961713 Circulating Tumor Cell Analysis in Patients With Localized Prostate Cancer Undergoing Prostatectomy Circulating Tumor Cell Analysis in Patients With Localized Prostate Cancer Undergoing Prostatectomy MGH Open D
NCT01949337 Enzalutamide With or Without Abiraterone and Prednisone in Treating Patients With Castration-Resistant Metastatic Prostate Cancer Enzalutamide With or Without Abiraterone and Prednisone in Treating Patients With Castration-Resistant Metastatic Prostate Cancer MGH Closed D
NCT02465060 NCI-MATCH: Targeted Therapy Directed by Genetic Testing in Treating Patients With Advanced Refractory Solid Tumors, Lymphomas, or Multiple Myeloma NCI-MATCH: Targeted Therapy Directed by Genetic Testing in Treating Patients With Advanced Refractory Solid Tumors, Lymphomas, or Multiple Myeloma MGH Open D
NCT02799602 ODM-201 in Addition to Standard ADT and Docetaxel in Metastatic Castration Sensitive Prostate Cancer ODM-201 in Addition to Standard ADT and Docetaxel in Metastatic Castration Sensitive Prostate Cancer MGH Open D
NCT02219711 Phase 1/1b Study of MGCD516 in Patients With Advanced Cancer Phase 1/1b Study of MGCD516 in Patients With Advanced Cancer MGH Open D
Trial Status: Showing Results: 1-10 of 16 Per Page:
12Next »
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