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Paul Edwards

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In a surprising paradox, the male hormone testosterone, generally thought to be a feeder of prostate cancer, has been found to suppress some advanced prostate cancers and also may reverse resistance to testosterone-blocking drugs used to treat prostate cancer.


A small study of 16 patients at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center was reported in the Jan. 7 issue of Science Translational Medicine.  Larger studies are necessary before the treatment can be used outside clinical trials.


Here is a link to a report in the HealthDay newsletter about the study:



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We would hope that further and larger trials supports these early conclusions, but readers of the paper should pay close attention to these remarks:


"Moreover, the long-term effects or dangers of the therapy aren't yet known, he said. Only longer, larger trials will help uncover any risks associated with the treatment.

And one expert worries that alternating testosterone levels could actually shorten men's lives.

"A cancer cell could escape and grow, as happened in breast cancer when this method was tried with estrogen, causing early death," said Dr. Anthony D'Amico, chief of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

D'Amico agreed with the study authors that bipolar androgen therapy is not ready to be used in clinical practice and doctors should wait for the results of ongoing trials before offering it to men."

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