Posts tagged ‘prostate cancer’

According to a new UCSF study, men who are older are offered fewer and low-effective treatment choices than their younger counterparts. This leads to earlier deaths than if they had been given better treatments.

Scientists have discovered that 75-plus men who are suffering from prostate cancer are seldom offered sound and better treatments like surgery or radiation therapies. Instead they are given under-treatment through hormone therapy or watchful waiting.

Senior Investigator Matthew Cooperberg, MD, MPH cites that the age of the patient is playing a crucial role in the treatment of prostate cancer. He remarks that older men with high-risk disease are given under-treatment and on the other hand younger men with low-risk disease are offered over-treatment. He explains that this perhaps explains the cause behind high death rate and suggests that selection of treatment should be risk-based rather than age-based.

Prostate cancer has affected an estimated 217,730 men in 2010 alone and as per American Cancer Society, 32,050 men are likely to die from this disease. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst men and interestingly, 64% of fresh cases in US in 2010 were related to men above 65 of which 23% were above the age of 75.

The researchers studied men in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) and studied 13,805 patients. The findings revealed that older and high-risk patients had a 46% lower mortality rate if provided with aggressive treatments.

Peter Carroll of UCSF Department of Urology states that the findings support the decision that treatment should be decided based on the disease-risk and life expectancy rather than on chronological age.

Cooperberg concludes by suggesting that there needs to be a better balance between risk and benefit. Even though the risk of surgery and radiation is higher in older patients yet they must be offered a chance of aggressive therapy.


Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have found that some components in pomegranate juice prevent cancer from spreading by weakening their attraction towards a chemical signal in regard to prostate cancer.

The incurable prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths amongst US males. After prostate cancer recurrence post surgery among men, doctors try to prevent its growth by suppressing male testosterone. However, with time, the cancer cells resist this hormone suppression and vigorously spread to the bone marrow, lungs and other internal parts and kill the patient.

Researchers in the Manuela Martins-Green lab applied pomegranate juice to the testosterone-resistant cancer cells and found that those tumour cells showed an increment in cell adhesion and a substantial abatement in cell migration, thereby, yielding positive results.

The researchers then went on to identify the components in the juice that played an effective role preventing prostate cancer metastasis. Components like phenylpropanoids, hydrobenzoic acids, flavones and conjugated fatty acids were identified as being instrumental in the process.

Identification of these components have raised hopes of coming out with better and effective drugs. Bone marrow produces a particular protein that causes the cancer cells to migrate to the bone and then form new tumours. However, the pomegranate juice components mar the function of the protein and weaken its power, thereby preventing metastasis.

The researchers at the lab would now perform additional tests and try to figure out if these pomegranate components can prevent metastasis without side effects. While it is too early to suggest if pomegranate juice shall ultimately prove to be a solution to this deadly disease, it is a big step towards advancement of medical science.


Researchers from the Eli and Edythe Broad Centre of Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Research at UCLA have found a certain protein which is responsible for the transformation of healthy cells into prostate cancer cells. This protein normally controls the self-renewal of the prostate cells or the restoration of normal cells destroyed by the withdrawal therapy for cancer.

According to previous studies,this protein, known as Bmi-1, has been previously associated with higher grade cancers and is also responsible for poor prognosis. Recent studies and experiments by the team have also revealed that a less Bmi-1 expression hinders the self renewal activities of prostate cells and diminishing its power of abnormal growth changes, thus leading to cancers.

As put by Dr.Owen Witte, the leading author of the study and the director of the Broad stem Cell Research Centre, ‘We conclude by these results that Bmi-1 is a crucial regulator of self renewal in adult prostate cells and plays important roles in prostate cancer initiation and progression’.

With years of active empirical research and studies of the whole mechanism of self-renewal in prostate cells and how their ability to do so is often seized by cancer cells, the scientists have thrown light on the spread of these malignant cells. Dr. Witte even expressed that if  some more information could be developed about this renewal process, it would have been easier for the researchers to hinder the process once the cancerous cells set in.

Finding more insight into the regulation of the self-renewal process seems to be the primary objective of the team. According to Rita Lukacs, a doctoral student in Dr. Witte’s team, ‘Prostate cancer can be initiated by so many different mutations, if we can find a key regulator of self renewal, we can partially control the growth of the cancer no matter what the mutation is’.


The medical researchers of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University have made a startling discovery. They found that a non toxic chemical substance present within soy can, in fact, stop the spread of cancer cells from the prostate to the other parts of the body.

The study results are expected to be published at the Cancer Prevention Research Conference at the Ninth American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers this year.

The chemical found in soy is known as Genistein and it is now being used to prevent the metastasis of cancerous prostate cells to the various parts of the body. The study is on at the laboratory of Raymond Bergan who is also the director of the Lurie Cancer Center. The drug has worked well during the preclinical stage and is now expected to show similar benefits for humans diagnosed with carcinoma of the prostate.

The researchers also studied the cancerous cells from the prostate obtained after a surgical procedure. They found that Genistein had a twofold effect as it increases the expression of those genes that are responsible for suppression of the invasive procedure while decreasing the expression for genes that are responsible for enhancing the invasion.

The Phase II of the study will involve the examination of the drug to see if it can actually stop the cancer cells from moving out of the prostate thereby spreading all throughout the body revealed Bergan, a professor of hematology and oncology.

All the therapies that had been destined to stop the spread of cancer cells have been found to be either toxic or infective so far. Genistein can be the only non toxic drug which has the capability of inhibiting the movement of cancer cells if the studies get to be proved conclusively.

Bergan also indicated that the drug might have the same effect on the cancer cells elsewhere in the body.


The October issue of the ‘Journal of Urology’ carried the results of a study conducted by the researchers associated with the Children’s Hospital, Boston. The study showed the effectiveness of using a cholesterol lowering drug in reducing the size of an enlarged prostate. The experiment was carried out on hamsters. The drug had a similar effect to a benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treating drug.  A combination of both the drugs proved to be doubly effective found the researchers.

Keith Solomon, the lead author and member of the Orthopedic Surgery department at the  Children’s Hospital said that the results of the study point to the fact that lowering cholesterol might have a reducing effect on BPH. Other means of decreasing the cholesterol levels like exercise and diet might also go a long way in reducing BPH. The mechanism of the process is yet to be discovered says Solomon.

The development of BPH is manifested by an enlarged prostate and occur in elderly males above 50. The treatment followed currently consist of both medical and surgical procedures which target the prostate reducing the associated symptoms significantly. However, a number of side effects are also evident in most of the patients treated by the traditional methods.

The team of researchers led by Solomon tested the efficacy of a FDA approved cholesterol reducing drug, Ezetimibe against that of Finasteride which is a standard drug used to reduce BPH.  Both the drugs reduced the enlarged prostate significantly while they worked even better in combination.

Dolores Di Vizio, the co-author of the study made a startling discovery when she observed that Finasteride caused atrophy of the prostate gland while Ezetimibe did not. This proved that the cholesterol reducing drug utilized a unique mechanism of inhibiting the BPH said Michael R. Freeman, another co-author in the project.

This particular therapeutic effect of hypercholesterolemic  drugs was, in fact, commented upon by Carl Schaffner almost 40 years earlier. The professor emeritus attached to the Rutgers University had reported similar results by using a different drug on pre clinical models.

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

Public Release by Children’s Hospital, Boston on 21st October 2010

Cancer of the prostrate is common in men after they attain a certain age. One of the best known methods for treating the prostate cancer is ADT or Androgen deprivation therapy which blocks the male hormone thereby preventing the cancerous cells of the prostate to thrive with its aid.

A new research study has now revealed that the ADT might be responsible for bone decay too.  A group of researchers associated with the University of Melbourne, Australia state that the study is the first one to take a look at the bone structure during the course of ADT therapy.  About 20% to 50% of all men diagnosed with prostate cancer are usually put on the therapy.  The study is due to be published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism which is brought out by the Endocrine Society.

The study involved observing 26 men who were undergoing the therapy. They were kept under observation for a period of one year by the researchers.  The lead author of the study, Dr. Emma Hamilton, said in a press release that they had taken the help of a new technology that could assess the micro-architecture of the bone structure.  The findings showed a decay of both  the cortical or the outer hard shell as well as the trabecular which is the inner spongy mesh of the bone.

This particular study comes just after similar findings were reported  by the University Health Network, Toronto.  The Canadian study included 19,079 men, all over the age of 55 who had been put on the ADT therapy.  These men were compared to others of similar age and medical conditions but not on the therapy.  The men were watched for over six years when the researchers found out that there had been a 45% increase in fractures among men who had been on the hormone therapy vis-à-vis the men who were not.