Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Cholesterol-lowering drug shrinks enlarged prostates in hamster model

A cholesterol-lowering drug reduced the enlarged prostates of hamsters to the same extent as a drug commonly used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), report researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and their colleagues in the October issue of the Journal of Urology. Together, the drugs worked even better.

"We don't know the mechanism, but the results suggest to us that lowering cholesterol has the potential to reduce BPH in men," says senior author Keith Solomon, PhD, a biochemist, and member of the departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Urology at Children's. "This brings up the possibility that other cholesterol lowering therapies, including exercise and diet, may prevent BPH from developing."

For unknown reasons, about half of men older than 50 (and 80 percent of men aged 80) develop BPH, most often evident as enlargement of the prostate. BPH leads to difficult urination, urgency, pain, and other symptoms that can cause significant reduction in the quality of life. In advanced stages, BPH can lead to renal failure. Standard medical and surgical treatments typically target the prostate and usually result in a reduction of symptoms but not without significant side effects in some men, Solomon said.

The study implicates circulating cholesterol in the progression of the condition and suggests a potential new strategy for prevention and treatment. The latest findings emerge from experiments with a strain of Syrian hamsters that undergo prostate enlargement naturally.

Led by first author Kristine Pelton, the team tested ezetimibe, an FDA-approved hypercholesterolemic drug (Zetia; Merck) against finasteride (Proscar, Propecia; Merck), a standard therapy for the treatment of BPH. Ezetimibe reduced prostatic enlargement in aged hamsters as effectively as finasteride and combining the two drugs worked better than either one alone.

In an unexpected finding, pathologist and co-author Dolores Di Vizio, MD, PhD, observed that finasteride caused atrophy of the hamster prostate while ezetimibe did not. "These findings provide strong evidence that the cholesterol-lowering drug inhibits BPH by a novel mechanism," said co-author Michael R. Freeman, PhD, professor of Surgery and director of urologic research at Children's Hospital.

The potentially therapeutic effect of cholesterol-lowering on enlarged prostates was pioneered 40 years earlier by co-author Carl Schaffner, PhD, professor emeritus at Rutgers University, who reported similar results in pre-clinical models using a different cholesterol-lowering drug.

"There is a lot more we want to do in the lab, with regards to studying BPH and the use of cholesterol-based therapies to control disease progression," says Solomon.

For example, the researchers want to test lower doses of ezetimibe and finasteride to examine whether the condition can be reversed with fewer side effects. They also want to assess prophylactic cholesterol lowering to determine if the enlargement can be prevented, and whether genes and proteins mediating the effect of cholesterol on the prostate can be identified. "We really want to be in the position to help conduct a clinical trial to test whether this therapy might have efficacy in human patients," Solomon said.

The study also validated the hamster strain as a good preclinical model for testing novel BPH therapies. "The preclinical models for BPH are few, require substantial manipulation or have an unpredictable disease course," Solomon says. "The Syrian hamster model that we are now using seems particularly good for examining the role of cholesterol in prostate disease, and the testing of novel drug therapies to help alleviate symptoms. We should be able to make substantial progress in developing new treatments and in understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning the disease using these hamsters."

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and a grant from the Hyde and Watson Foundation.

Study links:

Ezetimibe reduces enlarged prostate in an animal model of benign prostatic hyperplasia, Journal of Urology, October 2010

Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 members of the Institute of Medicine and 13 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 392-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

Keri Stedman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>