New Link Between Testosterone And Cancer Cell Aggression Discovered
Prostate Cancer UK and the Movember Foundation reveal new opportunities for diagnosing and treating aggressive prostate cancer.
Researchers have found a number of genes that could help prostate cancer cells to grow and spread in response to testosterone. This could explain some of the benefits of hormone therapy as well as offer a new way to potentially treat prostate cancer.
The researchers, based at the University of Newcastle, and funded by Prostate Cancer UK and the Movember Foundation, wanted to understand what effect the male sex hormone testosterone had on gene activity in prostate cancer cells. They hoped that by finding genes whose activity changed in response to the hormone, it could help suggest new ways to treat the disease.
They started by adding testosterone to cancer cells grown in the lab to see what happened to gene activity when hormone levels rose. At the same time, they used prostate cancer samples from men whod had hormone therapy to see what effect lower hormone levels had on gene activity.
The scientists found that changing testosterone levels affected a group of genes linked to a process called glycosylation, where sugar groups are added to the surface of the cancer cells. They noticed that lower testosterone levels in the samples from men on hormone therapy repressed the activity of a number of genes involved in the glycosylation process. However, when they added testosterone to cancer cells, the activity of these genes increased.
Testosterone Supplements: What’s The Risk
Testosterone is the bodys main male hormone. It is responsible for muscle mass, libido and maintaining healthy energy levels among other characteristics in men. So when they’re experiencing problems in these areas, many men see testosterone supplements as a quick although, expensive fix.
, an internal medicine doctor at Queen City Physicians Western Hills Internal Medicine, explains what you need to know about testosterone supplements before taking them, and why they should always be prescribed by a doctor.
Study Finds Blood Clots Developed As Soon As 3 Weeks After Starting Therapy
A study first published on Aug. 7, 2013 in Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis found that blood clots developed as quickly as three weeks after men began using testosterone therapy drugs.
The study identified seven men who had used the drugs before or at the time they were admitted to the hospital for serious blood clots. The men experienced blood clots at 3 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 12 months or 27 months after starting TRT.
Our research found that 1.2 percent of men who landed in the hospital with dangerous and potentially lethal blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or in the lungs developed these clots within three months of starting testosterone therapy, study author Dr. Charles Glueck of the Jewish Hospital Cholesterol and Metabolism Center told the Cincinnati Business Courier.
According to Glueck, an inherited clotting disorder can increase the risk of blood clots. He said people should be tested for risk factors before beginning TRT.
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What Are Male Sex Hormones
Androgens are required for normal growth and function of the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system that helps make semen. Androgens are also necessary for prostate cancers to grow. Androgens promote the growth of both normal and cancerous prostate cells by binding to and activating the androgen receptor, a protein that is expressed in prostate cells . Once activated, the androgen receptor stimulates the expression of specific genes that cause prostate cells to grow .
Almost all testosterone is produced in the testicles a small amount is produced by the adrenal glands. Although prostate cells do not normally make testosterone, some prostate cancer cells acquire the ability to do so .
Im Considering Testosterone Supplements: What Should I Do First
If youre toying with the idea of taking testosterone supplements, the first thing you need to do is schedule an appointment with your doctor, who will suggest having your PSA levels tested first.
While Dr. Alexander says most urologists do not think developing prostate cancer is a significant risk of taking testosterone supplements, he still says PSA levels should be checked before taking them, and then should be monitored throughout treatment. This is especially true for men who are on them for a long period of time.
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Enjoying The Sun Safely
Almost 9 in 10 of skin cancer cases in the UK are caused by exposure to sun or use of sunbeds. The risk of developing melanoma is around 3 times higher in people who have had sunburn just once every 2 years, compared with people who have never been sunburned. It doesnt need to peel sunburn includes reddening of the skin, or skin that feels irritated, tender or itchy.
Estrogen Therapy And Cancer Risk
In women who still have a uterus, using systemic ET has been shown to increase the risk of endometrial cancer . The risk remains higher than average even after ET is no longer used. Although most studies that showed an increased risk were of women taking estrogen as a pill, women using a patch or high-dose vaginal ring can also expect to have an increased risk of endometrial cancer.
Because of this increased cancer risk, women who have gone through menopause and who still have a uterus are given a progestin along with estrogen. Studies have shown that EPT does not increase the risk for endometrial cancer.
Long-term use of vaginal creams, rings, or tablets containing topical estrogen doses may also increase the levels of estrogen in the body. Its not clear if this leads to health risks, but the amounts of hormone are much smaller than systemic therapies.
ET is not linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. In fact, certain groups of women taking ET, such as women who had no family history of breast cancer and those who had no history of benign breast disease, had a slightly lower risk of breast cancer.
The WHI study of ET did not report any results about ovarian cancer.
To put the risk into numbers, if 1,000 women who were 50 years old took estrogen for menopause for 5 years, one extra ovarian cancer would be expected to develop.
ET does not seem to have any effect on the risk of lung cancer.
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Relationship Of Testosterone And Prostate Cancer
Huggins and Hodges demonstrated in 1941 that reducing testosterone levels by castration caused regression of metastatic prostate cancer and that administering testosterone promoted the growth of prostate cancers. To this day, however, there is no conclusive evidence of a clear-cut correlation between high serum testosterone levels and prostate cancer risk.
Since prostate cancer is known to be androgen-dependent, there is concern that small, previously undetected tumors may progress to overt disease in the presence of exogenous testosterone or even under the influence of high levels of endogenous testosterone. The question of whether testosterone stimulates the development of prostate cancer remains controversial.
Can Testosterone Replacement Therapy Increase The Risk For Enlarged Prostate
So, now lets talk about whether testosterone replacement therapy can affect your risk factors for an enlarged prostate. Its a common misconception that testosterone can cause or worsen BPH. There are a few reasons for this misconception.
First, many believe rising testosterone levels during puberty cause prostate growth. When youre born, your prostate gland is quite small and remains that way until puberty. At this point, the gland grows quite quickly. Then, growth slows down for a couple of decades.
Another reason some believe that testosterone affects prostate enlargement is because of a study from the 1940s by a man named Charles Huggins. In his studies, he looked at the effect of castration in relation to prostate cancer. He found a relationship between prostate cancer growth and testosterone.
However, there are a few important things to note. First, while testosterone can cause the prostate to grow during puberty, enlarged prostate in young men with peak testosterone levels is pretty rare. Instead, the risks for BPH go up with age. Age is also a risk factor for low testosterone.
In addition, the Huggins studies are quite old and looked at prostate cancer, not normal prostate tissue, which is what causes an enlarged prostate. Therefore, these studies may not be particularly helpful when it comes to looking at BPH.
Several modern studies have found that testosterone doesnt cause or worsen an enlarged prostate and, in some cases, may even help reduce symptoms.
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Take A Cautious Approach
A large, definitive trial for hormone treatment of men is still to come. Until then, here is how to take a cautious approach to testosterone therapy.
Take stock of your health first
Have you considered other reasons why you may be experiencing fatigue, low sex drive, and other symptoms attributable to low testosterone? For example, do you eat a balanced, nutritious diet? Do you exercise regularly? Do you sleep well? Address these factors before turning to hormone replacement therapy for men.
If your sex life is not what it used to be, have you ruled out relationship or psychological issues that could be contributing?
If erectile dysfunction has caused you to suspect “low T” as the culprit, consider that cardiovascular disease can also cause erectile dysfunction.
Get an accurate assessment
Be mindful of unknown risks of testosterone replacement therapy
Approach testosterone therapy with caution if you are at high risk for prostate cancer have severe urinary symptoms from prostate enlargement or have diagnosed heart disease, a previous heart attack, or multiple risk factors for heart problems.
- Ask your doctor to explain the various side effects for the different formulations of testosterone. The different treatments include testosterone injections, gels and patches. Know what to look for if something goes wrong.
Do Bioidentical Hormones Cause Cancer
Bioidentical hormones are a hotly debated and controversial topic. They are often used to treat menopause related symptoms even though some experts suggest that they cause cancer. Many women wonder if there is any real correlation between use of bioidentical hormones and cancer. Continue reading to learn more about this divisive topic.
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Should I Avoid Testosterone Replacement Therapy If I Have Certain Conditions
But some studies suggest that men who have been successfully treated for prostate cancer may be candidates for TRT as long as they are closely watched for signs of disease. Before starting TRT, your doctor should assess your risk for prostate cancer.
You might be told by a doctor not to get TRT if you have these conditions, which may be made worse by TRT:
- Above-normal red blood cell counts
TRT is also not advised to be used for treating those with low testosterone caused by aging.
Sleep Apnea May Worsen
Testosterone replacement therapy may make sleep apnea worse or increase the likelihood of it developing, especially in patients with risk factors such as obesity or chronic lung disease, according to the drugs labels.
Some researchers have found TRT may worsen a type of sleep apnea known as obstructive sleep apnea , but others said the link between the therapy and the sleep condition was weak.
With OSA, the flow of air stops or decreases during sleep because of a blocked or narrowed airway. It can cause stroke, atrial fibrillation and cardiac ischemia, a condition where not enough blood is flowing to the heart.
The elevated risk of OSA in men using TRT is noteworthy. Source:
An article published in 2007 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine said further studies are needed to determine whether there is a relationship between the hormone treatment and obstructive sleep apnea. The author reviewed literature about TRT and OSA and concluded there was a lack of convincing evidence that such treatment causes or aggravates the sleep condition. The author noted that most studies involved small numbers of men.
A 2012 study published in Clinical Endocrinology looked at a group of 67 obese men with severe obstructive sleep apnea. The randomized, doubleblind, placebocontrolled trial put all the subjects on a low-calorie diet and then injected the men with either the hormone or placebo over 12 weeks.
The elevated risk of OSA in men using TRT is noteworthy, the authors wrote.
Types Of Studies Of Hormone Therapy And Cancer Risk
Different types of studies can be used to look at cancer risk from menopausal hormone therapy .
Randomized controlled trials: In this kind of study, a group of patients get the drug being studied , and another group gets a placebo . Results from this kind of study are powerful because which group a patient is in is based on chance. This helps assure that the groups are similar in all ways, such as risk for cancer, except for the drug thats being studied. This is the best way to see the effects of a drug. These types of studies can also be double-blinded, which means neither the people in the study nor their doctors know which group they are in. This lowers the chance that thoughts or opinions about treatment could affect the study results. Unfortunately, these kinds of studies are costly, which limits the number of people in the study, how long the study can continue, and the number of studies done.
A major drawback of observational studies is that the people getting the treatment being studied may have different cancer risk factors than the people who arent. Plus, the treatment can differ between the people being studied. This makes it less clear that the differences seen are only due to the drug being studied and not other factors.
When observational studies and randomized controlled trials have different results, most experts give more weight to the results of the randomized controlled trial.
Address Your Whole Health At Low T Center
Getting quality health care is easy with our team at Low T Center. Were dedicated to making mens health care convenient, accessible, and affordable. Our providers take a holistic approach to mens health. We are here to help you identify potential causes of your symptoms. We also help find treatment solutions to help you feel your best. Make an appointment today to take the first step toward better health and get a comprehensive health assessment!
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High Levels Of Two Hormones In The Blood Raise Prostate Cancer Risk
- National Cancer Research Institute
- Men with higher levels of ‘free’ testosterone and a growth hormone in their blood are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to research presented at the 2019 NCRI Cancer Conference.
Men with higher levels of ‘free’ testosterone and a growth hormone in their blood are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to research presented at the 2019 NCRI Cancer Conference.
Other factors such as older age, ethnicity and a family history of the disease are already known to increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer.
However, the new study of more than 200,000 men is one of the first to show strong evidence of two factors that could possibly be modified to reduce prostate cancer risk.
The research was led by Dr Ruth Travis, an Associate Professor, and Ellie Watts, a Research Fellow, both based at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, UK. Dr Travis said: “Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men worldwide after lung cancer and a leading cause of cancer death. But there is no evidence-based advice that we can give to men to reduce their risk.
“We were interested in studying the levels of two hormones circulating in the blood because previous research suggests they could be linked with prostate cancer and because these are factors that could potentially be altered in an attempt to reduce prostate cancer risk.”
Are There Any Long Term Implications Of Hypogonadism Due To Chemotherapy
Long term testosterone deficiency or hypogonadism is reported in 12 18% survivors of testicular cancer . Unfortunately, poorly managed or chronic hypogonadism can lead to a variety of complications in cancer survivors such as metabolic syndrome, poor quality of life, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, premature aging, and heart dysfunction .
In addition, for normal restoration of spermatogenesis, adequate gonadal functions is very important. According to a new study, the fertility is reduced by 30% in testicular cancer survivors . If testosterone levels are not restored, the fertility can further decline in these survivors.
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Testosterone As A Drug
The male hormone testosterone can feed the growth of prostate cancer, but in an interesting twist, when given in a very specific way, it may also cause its demise. Drugs that block the action of testosterone are commonly used to treat men with advanced prostate cancer therapy. Cutting off the supply of testosterone to the cancer works for a time, but eventually prostate cancer cells figure out a way around it and begin to grow again. Other drugs work at the molecular level to cut off prostate cancer cells access to testosterone, but their impact is temporary and comes with unpleasant side effects. Men who have long-term hormone ablation have a good response initially, but eventually they become resistant to therapy, and then there arent many options left for them, says prostate cancer expert Samuel Denmeade. These are the men most at risk of dying from prostate cancer.
Men were hugging me because they felt so good. People are clamoring for it, says Denmeade. We get emails from men all over the country and the world. Denmeade says they are still learning about the best way to safely give the therapy. So far, the side effects have been low grade, as long as the treatment is limited to men who are asymptomatic without any pain due to prostate cancer, he says. In some cases, the testosterone therapy makes men feel increased energy, less fatigue and restored sexual function.