Hormone Therapy Can Make Prostate Cancer Worse

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Some types of prostate cancer are resistant to, and can grow and spread in response to, standard hormone therapy (androgen-targeted therapy) used to treat the disease, say researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

A possible reason for resistance to androgen treatment is that it may cause the most common type of prostate cancer cells, adenocarcinoma cells, to become neuroendocrine cells — a rare type that occurs in fewer than 1 percent of cases. Neuroendocrine cells are more aggressive, more likely to spread, or metastasize, and are resistant to both hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

Research shows that about one-quarter of men treated with hormone therapy develop neuroendocrine prostate cancer and androgen resistance. According to the Cedars-Sinai researchers, their study (conducted in laboratory mice) suggests that hormone therapy affects levels of an amino acid called glutamine, which is known to promote cancer growth, and this amino acid triggers adenocarcinoma cells to reprogram into neuroendocrine cancer cells. A blood test to measure glutamine may be used to identify men at risk for hormone therapy resistant prostate cancer.

Sourced from: The Journal of Clinical Investigation