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Testosterone And The C Word

Does it accelerate the growth of prostate cancer cells?


A new study has recently assuaged one of the major fears concerning testosterone therapy, namely the belief that it accelerates the growth of prostate cancer cells. For the last 70 years, doctors have used androgen deprivation therapy to lower the testosterone levels of prostate cancer patients in order to suppress the disease. Since this has found some success, it was assumed that, conversely, elevated levels of testosterone must fuel the cancerous tumors. New information is now disproving that notion, and, in fact, one small study successfully destroyed prostate cancer cells with testosterone.

A few months ago, The Journal of Urology published a population study that examined 52,579 men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Of that number, 574 men had a history of therapeutic testosterone use. After analysis, the researchers concluded that TRT is not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. The doctors described their findings an important piece of information for men doing a risk-reward assessment when considering testosterone therapy.

In a separate pilot study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, a group of prostate cancer patients whose disease seemed to be resistant to androgen deprivation therapy was given three 28-day cycles of testosterone along with two weeks of chemotherapy. Out of the 14 men who completed the study, half experienced tumor shrinkage of more than 50 percent and a decrease in their prostate-specific antigen levels of between 30 and 99 percent. The other half of the patients experienced no improvement or decline during the trial.

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