"For many decades it had been believed that a history of prostate cancer, even if treated and cured, was an absolute contraindication to testosterone therapy, due to the belief that testosterone activated prostate cancer growth, and could potentially cause dormant cancer cells to grow rapidly," says Abraham Morgentaler, MD of Men's Health Boston. "Generations of medical students and residents were taught that providing testosterone to a man with prostate cancer was like pouring gasoline on a fire."
This study, involving 13 symptomatic testosterone deficient men who also had untreated prostate cancer, suggests this traditional view is incorrect, and that testosterone treatment in men does not cause rapid growth of prostate cancer. It is the first to directly and rigorously assess changes in the prostate among men with prostate cancer who received testosterone therapy.
The men received testosterone therapy while undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer for a median of 2.5 years. Median age was 58.8 years. The initial biopsy Gleason score was 6/10 for 12 of the men, 7/10 for the other (Gleason score grades the aggressiveness of prostate cancer by its microscopic appearance on a scale of 2-10. Gleason 6 is generally considered low to moderately aggressive, and Gleason 7 moderately aggressive).
Mean testosterone concentration increased from 238 to 664 ng/dl with treatment, yet neither prostate specific antigen (PSA) concentrations nor prostate volume showed any change. Follow-up biopsies of the prostate were performed in all men at approximately yearly intervals, and none developed cancer progression. In fact, 54 percent of the follow-up biopsies revealed no cancer at all.
Although the number of men in the study was small, and none had aggressive or advanced prostate cancer, Morgentaler observed, "These men were rigorously followed. The cancers in these men were typical of the prostate cancers for which men have undergone invasive treatment with surgery or radiation for 25 years. Clearly, the traditional belief that higher testosterone necessarily leads to rapid prostate cancer growth is incorrect."
In a Journal of Urology editorial comment, Martin M. Miner, MD, of the Miriam Hospital and Warren Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University notes the conclusions represent "a remarkable shift in thinking from only five years ago. … If testosterone therapy was not associated with disease progression in men with untreated prostate cancer, how concerned must we be about testosterone therapy in men with treated prostate cancer?"
"An increasing number of newly diagnosed men with prostate cancer opting for active surveillance, and with many of them also desiring treatment for their signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency, the results suggest a reevaluation of the long standing prohibition against offering testosterone therapy to men with prostate cancer," says Morgentaler.
Refraining from testosterone therapy due to unmerited prostate cancer fears may have adverse lifestyle and health consequences, since testosterone therapy in testosterone deficient men has been shown to improve symptoms of fatigue, decreased libido, and erectile dysfunction. Testosterone therapy may also improve mood, blood sugar control, increase muscle, decrease fat, and improve bone density. Four recent studies have shown that men with high testosterone levels appear to live longer than men with low levels, although it has not yet been shown that treating men with testosterone increases longevity.
Morgentaler commented on an Italian study that showed that low levels of testosterone were associated with aggressive prostate cancer. The risk of aggressive cancer was reduced for men with normal testosterone compared with men with low testosterone.
In an editorial in the journal Cancer, "Turning Conventional Wisdom Upside Down: Low Serum Testosterone and High-Risk Prostate Cancer Morgentaler wrote, "After seven decades of circumstantial evidence pointing us in the wrong direction, perhaps it is time to consider the once unthinkable – conducting a testosterone therapy trial of sufficient size and duration to determine whether normalization of serum testosterone in older men many reduce the risk of prostate cancer, particularly high-risk prostate cancer."
In addition to Morgentaler, a member of the Division of Urology in the BIDMC Department of Surgery and an associate clinic professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, the study was co-authored by Michael Sweeney, MD of Harvard Medical School and Larry I. Lipshultz, MD, Richard Bennett, MD, Desiderio Avila, Jr., MD, and Mohit Khera, MD, of Baylor Medical College.
The authors reported financial interests and/or other relationships with Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Slate Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer Inc., Eli Lilly & Co., Allergan, Inc., American Medical Systems and Repros Therapeutics.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and currently ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.
Jerry Berger | EurekAlert!
Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow
27.03.2017 | Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences