About Yu Chen
A subset of prostate cancer cases (~10%) overexpresses the protein SPINK1. SPINK1 overexpression is associated with a poor outcome for prostate cancer and is thought to be associated with a lethal variant of the disease. However, the mechanism of overexpression of this protein in this subgroup of aggressive prostate cancer remains unknown. Normally, SPINK1 is expressed only in gastroenteric organs such as the pancreas. The master regulator of SPINK1 expression in these organs is HNF4G (Hepatic Nuclear Factor 4 Gamma) which governs normal liver and colon development. Dr. Chen’s previous research has shown that SPINK1-positive prostate tumors also express abnormally excessive amounts of HFN4. Dr. Chen’s studies will potentially validate the protein HNF4G in the SPINK1-positive subset of prostate cancer as a prognostic biomarker for aggressive disease and as a target for therapeutic intervention.
The 2011 David H. Koch – PCF Young Investigator Award
Yu Chen, MD, PhD
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Howard Scher, MD and Charles Sawyers, MD