Hormone therapy, the most common treatment for advanced prostate cancer, can boomerang to make the cancer more deadly, mouse studies suggest.
The finding “may revolutionize the way we combat prostate cancer,” suggest University of Rochester researchers Chawnshang Chang, PhD, Edward M. Messing, MD, and colleagues.
It’s well known that male sex hormones promote the growth of prostate cancer. That’s why doctors use hormone therapy — chemical or physical castration — to shut off these tumor-promoting androgens.
But Chang’s team finds that in different types of prostate cancer cells, androgens actually inhibit prostate cancer. When these tumor cells don’t get androgens, they become more aggressive and more invasive.
The lining of the prostate is made up of epithelial cells. The fibrous body of the prostate is made up of stromal cells.
On their surfaces, both cell types have triggers — androgen receptors — that fire when they encounter sex hormones. Triggering androgen receptors has different effects in each cell type.
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