Testosterone May Prove an Unlikely Ally in Fight Against Prostate Cancer

Pharmacy Times, February 2015 Autoimmune Disorders, Volume 81, Issue 2

Although testosterone is often considered to be a catalyst of prostate cancer, a recent study suggests that the hormone may be able to subdue advanced prostate cancer and break down resistance to testosterone-blocking drugs used to treat the disease.

Although testosterone is often considered to be a catalyst of prostate cancer, a recent study suggests that the hormone may be able to subdue advanced prostate cancer and break down resistance to testosterone-blocking drugs used to treat the disease.

The study, published on January 7, 2015, in Science Translational Medicine, examined 16 men with metastatic prostate cancer who had been receiving testosterone-lowering treatment to which their cancers were growing resistant. The men were given three 28-day cycles of an intramuscular testosterone injection and 2 weeks of etoposide, a chemotherapy drug.

Of the 14 men who completed the trial, 7 were found to have a 30% to 99% reduction in their prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, which indicated that their cancers were stabilizing or becoming less severe. Four of those 7 men remained on testosterone therapy for 12 to 24 months, during which they continued to experience reduced PSA levels. In addition, of the 10 men whose metastatic cancers were measured with imaging scans, 5 experienced a reduction in tumor size greater than 50%, with 1 man’s cancer disappearing entirely.

While the study’s authors find these results promising, they note that further research is needed to support their theory that testosterone therapy can reverse prostate cancer treatment resistance.