Prostate Cancer Takes Nerve

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Science  12 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6142, pp. 134-135
DOI: 10.1126/science.1241776

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One in six American males will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime, and once prostate cancer metastasizes to distant sites, it is incurable at present (1). This translates into the sobering reality that more than a quarter of a million men will die of prostate cancer this year throughout the world (2). Thus, new therapeutic approaches to this devastating disease are urgently needed. In this regard, preventing and/or disrupting neoneurogenesis—the ingrowth of nerve endings into the tumor—in prostate cancer is a newly discovered therapeutic target. Innervation of the prostate gland controls its growth and maintenance, but little is known about the function of neurons in prostate cancer. On page 10.1126/science.1236361 of this issue, Magnon et al. (3) report how the autonomous nervous system (which controls internal organs and glands, below the level of consciousness) stimulates the initiation and metastasis of prostate cancer.