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Project 1: Molecular Analysis of Dibenzoylmethane in Androgen-Refractory Prostate Cancer Cells

Prostate cancer ranks as the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in US men, and continues to pose a great challenge to public health. As such, the role of the androgen receptor (AR) in the development and progression of prostate cancer is being investigated. Prostate cancer is initially responsive to therapies that inhibit AR signaling, but the disease eventually progresses to an androgen-independent state. Although anti-androgen therapy is commonly used as the initial treatment for advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer, it does not prevent ligand- independent activation of the AR. I have continued to focus my research program on dibenzoylmethane (DBM). DBM is a minor constituent of licorice that is widely used in suncreens as an ultraviolet blocking agent. Our laboratory was the first to report the antineoplastic effects of DBM in prostate cancer cells.We have shown that DBM inhibits androgen refractory prostate cancer cell growth, thereby causing an accumulation of cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle and downregulating the expression of the AR. This data was further substantiated by our findings that DBM induced pronounced changes in the expression of cell cycle regulating proteins by proteomic analysis. The underlying mechanism of DBM for chemopreventive activity in carcinogenesis remains unknown. Our current work attempts to elucidate the molecular basis for the antineoplastic effects of DBM in prostate cancer cells by examining the AR transactivation pathway and determining how DBM regulates AR function and cell growth. This project is supported by the MIE/NASA Cooperative Agreement NCC8-227 and the Spelman Center for Health Disparities Research and Education Award from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities Grant Number 5P20MD000215-05.


Project 2: Spatial Maps as Predictor Models for African-American Prostate Cancer Burden in the US

This research project examines trends in prostate cancer incidence among African-American men in two geographic regions with substantial prostate cancer cases and collected survey data. Data from the Detroit-area Cancer Registry (Metropolitan Detroit Cancer Surveillance System) and Georgia Cancer Registry which are both linked to the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program) database from 1975-2006, will be used to examine geographic patterns of prostate cancer burden (by zip codes), and possible area-level influences on these patterns with emphasis on age, tumor grade and stage at diagnosis in Detroit and Atlanta. Using SatScan, ArcGIS and GIS-H softwares, we will identify statistically significant clusters and spatial pattering of cancer burden. I was awarded a Health Disparities Scholar grant through the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities for the initial findings from this work. Collaborative efforts will continue with the Epidemiology and Health Services Research Branch (EHSRB) of the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the National Cancer Institute in the form of consultation, editorial aid and statistical advice. This project is supported by the MIE/NASA Cooperative Agreement NCC8-227 and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities LRP.

Cancer related websites

For more information on prostate cancer research, prevention, detection, and treatment, see links below:

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

American Cancer Society (ACS)

American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD)