Some Prostate Cancer Treatment May Encourage Tumor Growth

Some Prostate Cancer Treatment May Encourage Tumor Growth

bigstock-Blue-ribbon-for-prostate-cance-43468495Prostate cancer is one of the most diagnosed problems for older men. When the cancer is detected, there are numerous treatment methods that can be used to help kill the cancerous cells. While some of these treatment methods do the job as expected and kill the tumors, there is some new research that shows that tumor growth may be encouraged by some treatments.

Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Depending on the situation, the treatment options for men with prostate cancer may include:

  • Expectant management (watchful waiting) or active surveillance.
  • Surgery.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Cryosurgery (cryotherapy)
  • Hormone therapy.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Vaccine treatment.
  • Bone directed treatment.

The overall goal of all treatment regimens are to reduce tumor size and extend the life of the patient diagnosed with cancer while also helping to improve the patient’s quality of life in the case of the individual being in stage for or end stage cancer. In this case a physician’s goal may not be to treat the cancer but to simply provide comfort.

New treatments for prostate cancer emerge and disappear but a major new study has found that some common treatments of prostate cancer may actually encourage tumor growth and make the disease worse. The study was published by the UK’s leading cancer research organizations. They also found that a group of glucocorticoids were also linked to mutations in cells that help drive tumor growth exponentially.

The study which is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine was only conducted in a small group of men and therefore the sample size may not necessarily be representation of what the study looks like when seeing what the effects of these prostate treatments are on a larger population. According to the researchers, their findings should lead to routine blood tests for prostate cancer patients, which could determine the point at which the steroids cease to be effective and become harmful.

It was suggested by the leading charity Prostate Cancer UK that the study should be followed up in a bigger trial group. They also noted that men who are taking steroids should not stop with consulting their primary care physician or specialist if they have questions or concerns. The ability of cancer cells to mutate becoming immune to the drugs being used to combat them are well known and this study highlights this major problem in treating cancer.

Drug resistance was biggest challenge Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research said. This is who conducted the study along with the Royal Marsden Hospital and the University of Trento in Italy.

“It is now many scientist are beginning to understand how cancer’s development is driven by the pressures we put on the tumors. What this means is that some cancer treatments can actually favor the survival of the worst and aggressive cancer cells found in the body. This is why the rational of having repeated monitoring of blood tests in order to track potential evolution of the cancer cells.

In several of the patients who used, steroids were linked to the emergence of these mutations and also the progression in the disease process. It was also noted that this group of individuals also had cancer that had progressed into a more advanced form. The Prostate Cancer UK believes this information is very important and can be what doctors need to inform patients to get more blood tests done as to ensure there is no time wasted in the treatment of the disease.

If this study is accurate the finding are astounding in that doctors can better monitor the drug interactions between patients who have prostate cancer and those that may be taking steroids. The potential harm should not be underestimated and more studies of this kind need to be done to better evaluate the evolution and mutation ability of cancer cells and they react with other drugs.

One other thing to keep in mind is the potential of other drug interactions that may be unknown to scientists. As noted, this study was conducted in the UK. It is interesting to see if doctors in the US or places outside of the UK, have found the same results. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

What is Prostate Cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute prostate cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men. 

Quick Facts: An Estimated 233,000 New cases and 29,480 Deaths recorded in 2014 in the United States. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most typical cancer in American men. About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. About 6 instances in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, also it’s uncommon before age 40. The typical age during the period of identification is all about 66. About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer may be a significant disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer don’t die from it.

 >Learn more about the prostate gland

>Learn more about prostate cancer


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