Study Suggests Androgen Deprivation May Do More Harm than Good in Men with Prostate Cancer

December 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

Androgen Deprivation Therapy or hormonal therapy is a treatment usually applied on those men with advanced stage prostate cancer. In most instances, when this treatment is applied, it is aimed to help prevent the tumors from progressing further. A new research

on the administration of androgen deprivation therapy on animals suggests that this  form of treatment could be harmful to patient.

A recent post on Science Daily made December 20, 2012 reveals details on this research as the following were highlighted in the opening paragraphs:

The use of androgen deprivation therapies to prevent precancerous prostate abnormalities developing into aggressive prostate cancer may have adverse effects in men with precancers with specific genetic alterations, according to data from a preclinical study recently published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

An expert in prostate cancer, Thomas R. Roberts, Ph.D, who is also a co-chair of the Department of Cancer Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was quoted in the post as saying “The growth and survival of prostate cancer cells are very dependent on signals that the cancer cells receive from a group of hormones, called androgens, which includes testosterone.” This statement re-emphasized the place of androgen treatment in helping those affected by prostate cancer.

Furthermore, the post revealed details of the study which is a warning against the negative implaction of the therapy.

The following details extracts explains all you need to Know: Using a mouse model of PTEN-driven high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, Roberts and his colleagues investigated whether surgical or chemical androgen deprivation could prevent the cancer precursor from progressing to more aggressive disease.

“When we castrated the animals, we thought the tumors would shrink and they did initially,” Roberts said. “However, they then grew back and became invasive.”

The results of this preclinical study suggest that prophylactic reduction of the most active form of androgen, or blocking androgen receptor function, might have unintended consequences in some men.

“Stretching our data even further, these findings suggest that as men age and their testosterone levels decrease, loss of testosterone might actually encourage indolent prostate tumors to become more aggressive,” Roberts said. “This suggests that testosterone supplements might be a good thing for the prostate, even though current wisdom suggests the opposite.”

Roberts noted that these results should be interpreted with caution because the prostate glands of mice are different from their human counterparts. More data on human tumors are needed to evaluate whether the data from this mouse study are applicable to men.

Conclusively, although this research was based on mouse study yet it shows evidence on the effects of hormonal treatments on prostate cancer patients. More details on the study can be accessed in “Cancer Discovery”, which is a publication of the journal of American Association for Cancer Research.

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