Delineating the Role of HPN in NEPC

Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Dr. Blake Johnson

Second Reader

Dr. Nathan Reyna

Third Reader

Dr. Ray Franklin


Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer (NEPC) is a highly aggressive disease associated with a poor prognosis; few patients live longer than one year. This disease can arise de novo, but recent evidence suggests that as more effective hormonal therapies have been developed and implemented, the prevalence of NEPC has likewise increased. Based on bioinformatics and in vitro experimentation, the protein hepsin (HPN) may be crucial for the development and malignant behavior of NEPC. NEPC represents only 0.5-2% of prostate cancer diagnoses, but NEPC is inevitably lethal, and there is sufficient evidence that current cancer treatments are giving rise to it, thus there is a justified need to investigate treatment and prevention for this disease. This research represents the starting point of an endeavor to discover and utilize novel diagnostic and treatment techniques for NEPC. Such techniques would be critical to extending or saving the lives of NEPC patients. Furthermore, this line of research seeks to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between NEPC and HPN.

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