An estrogen-like chemical commonly used to synthesize plastic food containers has been shown to encourage the growth of a specific category of prostate cancer cell, potentially affecting the treatment efficacy for a subset of prostate cancers.
According to a study published in the January 1 issue of Cancer Research, such prostate cancer cells proved to be vulnerable to exposure to the chemical BPA (bisophenol A), an industrial chemical and nonsteroidal environmental estrogen used in the manufacture of food cans, milk container linings, food storage containers and water supply pipes. About 2.5 billion pounds of the chemical are produced each year.
In particular, the study showed that the affected class of prostate cancer cell, characterized by mutated receptors for androgens, the male hormone, can proliferate in response to BPA. "The results may have implications for men who develop BPA-susceptible mutations in their androgen receptor genes during the course of prostate cancer treatment, although these concepts will need to be verified in animal systems," according to Karen Knudsen, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the University of Cincinnatis Department of Cell Biology and Center for Environmental Genetics. Scientists estimate that anywhere from eight to 25 percent of all prostate cancer patients may fall into this category.
Russell Vanderboom, Ph.D | EurekAlert!
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