An article was published today in the prestigious scientific journal “Science” that testifies to a very important discovery on the mechanisms in the human intestine that could in the future change the therapeutic approach in cases of prostate tumors that have become resistant to castration.

The study was led by prof. Andrea Alimonti, Principal Investigator of the Veneto Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM), full professor of the Department of Medicine of the University of Padua and Group Leader of the Oncological Research Institute (IOR) of Bellinzona in Switzerland, with the support of a team of young researchers from the VIMM, the IOR and the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

Prostate cancer is the most frequent malignant tumor in humans and its incidence is increasing. Male hormones (androgens) are the main factor among those that stimulate the growth of this tumor, and for this reason – in cases that require treatment – drugs that block the production of androgens are used. However, if it is true that in the initial stages this type of treatment almost always manages to block the disease, after a variable period of time the tumor often becomes resistant to this therapeutic approach (in this case we are talking about castration-resistant prostate cancer) and then the prognosis becomes worse.

The group has identified a new mechanism involved in making prostate cancer resistant to anti-androgen therapy and linked to the gut microbiome, that is, that complex population of a trillion microorganisms that live in our gut and that have a very important influence on the mechanisms. which regulate the biological balance of our body. The group led by prof. Alimonti was able to demonstrate that the microbiome, both in some animal models and in humans, is enriched with certain particular bacterial species in cases where resistance to anti-androgenic therapies is recorded.

The vision or even the dream of the group of researchers would be to one day be able to produce “a yogurt” full of “good” bacteria, therefore able to prevent the transformation of prostate cancer in a situation of resistance to castration, that is to antiandrogen therapy. “We are already looking for industrial partners who are willing to give us a hand to verify if this dream is achievable”, says Prof. Alimonti.


Article: Commensal bacteria promote endocrine resistance in prostate cancer through androgen biosynthesis

Authors: N Pernigoni, E Zagato, A Calcinotto, M Troiani, R Pereira Mestre, B Calì, G Attanasio, J Troisi, M Minini, S Mosole, A Revandkar, E Pasquini, AR Elia, D Bossi, A Rinaldi, P Rescigno , P Flohr, J Hunt, A Neeb, L Buroni, C Guo, J Welti, M Ferrari, M Grioni, J Gauthier, RZ Gharaibeh, A Palmisano, G Martinetti Lucchini, E D’Antonio, S Merler, M Bolis, F Grassi, A Esposito, M Bellone, A Briganti, M Rescigno, JP Theurillat, C Jobin, S Gillessen, J de Bono, A Alimonti.