Harnessing the Heterogeneity of Prostate Cancer for Target Discovery Using Patient-Derived Explants

Margaret M. Centenera, Andrew D. Vincent, Max Moldovan, Hui Ming Lin, David J. Lynn, Lisa G. Horvath, Lisa M. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Prostate cancer is a complex and heterogeneous disease, but a small number of cell lines have dominated basic prostate cancer research, representing a major obstacle in the field of drug and biomarker discovery. A growing lack of confidence in cell lines has seen a shift toward more sophisticated pre-clinical cancer models that incorporate patient-derived tumors as xenografts or explants, to more accurately reflect clinical disease. Not only do these models retain critical features of the original tumor, and account for the molecular diversity and cellular heterogeneity of prostate cancer, but they provide a unique opportunity to conduct research in matched tumor samples. The challenge that accompanies these complex tissue models is increased complexity of analysis. With over 10 years of experience working with patient-derived explants (PDEs) of prostate cancer, this study provides guidance on the PDE method, its limitations, and considerations for addressing the heterogeneity of prostate cancer PDEs that are based on statistical modeling. Using inhibitors of the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) as an example of a drug that induces robust proliferative response, we demonstrate how multi-omics analysis in prostate cancer PDEs is both feasible and essential for identification of key biological pathways, with significant potential for novel drug target and biomarker discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1708
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • patient-derived explant
  • pre-clinical tumor model
  • prostate cancer
  • proteomics
  • transcriptomics


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