Prognosis and treatment of patients suffering from prostate cancer
The invention relates to methods for predicting the outcome of a patient suffering from prostate cancer and methods for the treatment of prostate cancer. The inventors show that Doublecortin-expressing (DCX+) neural precursors from the central nervous system (CNS) enter the bloodstream, infiltrate prostate tumours and differentiate into neo-neurons that contribute to tumour development. In human primary prostate tumours and transgenic mouse cancer tissues, the density of DCX+ neural progenitors is strongly associated with tumour aggressiveness, invasion and recurrence. In transgenic cancer mice, oscillations of DCX+ neural stem cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ), a neurogenic area of the CNS, were associated with egress of DCX+ cells from the SVZ to the bloodstream. These cells then reach the tumour where they initiate neurogenesis. Selective genetic depletion of DCX+ cells in mice inhibits the early phases of prostate cancer development, whereas orthotopic transplantation of DCX+ cells purified from prostate tumour or brain tissues promotes tumour growth and cancer cell dissemination. These results unveil a unique crosstalk between the CNS and the tumour that drives a process of neurogenesis necessary for prostate cancer development, and indicate a novel neural element of the tumour microenvironment as a potential target for cancer treatment. Thus, the invention relates to a method for predicting the outcome of a patient suffering from prostate cancer and compound targeting DCX+ neural progenitor cells for use in the treatment of prostate cancer.