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More than testosterone

Today, approximately 63 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. If detected in its early stages, nearly 100 per cent of them will survive. But that is not always the case, so approximately 11 Canadian men will be lost to prostate cancer today. 
Drugs exist (called hormone therapy or androgen deprivation therapy) that stop the body’s production of testosterone, the fuel for cancer growth. These drugs are used when cancer spreads outside the prostate, comes back after another type of treatment, or for patients judged at high risk of having the cancer spread after surgery or radiation. Even with hormone therapy, sometimes the cancer continues to grow.
Testosterone’s role in the growth of prostate cancer has been studied, but what about the other male hormones? There are many others yet to be examined, and they are not suppressed by current hormone therapy. What if cancer cells also feed their growth using these other hormones? Dr. Éric Lévesque and his team at Laval University in Quebec City are determined to find out if this is the case.

“We now have a new technique sensitive enough to measure additional male hormones. It’s the first time they are being measured in relation to prostate cancer progression in a large group of patients. They clearly deserve attention,” Dr. Lévesque says.

The team will examine the presence of these unstudied male hormones in blood samples from 1,700 past prostate cancer patients. Along with the blood samples, there are records of how their cancer progressed. Putting all this information together, Dr. Lévesque’s team will be able to identify any connection between cancer progressing and these hormones.
If the team can show that these other male hormones drive prostate cancer growth, it could lead to:
  • more accurate and earlier ways to catch cancer that is more likely to progress, and
  • more effective approaches to hormone therapy, such as starting it sooner, as well as using newer drugs that specifically block hormones other than testosterone.
If successful, more focused and timely approach to the use of male hormone blocking drugs may arise from this research. The hope of saving and improving more lives is worth it.

This project is proudly funded by Movember Foundation and awarded by Prostate Cancer Canada. In 2019, this was one of ten research projects awarded through the Discovery Grant program to find ways to save and improve more lives.
Your donation helps protect men and their families from prostate cancer.
You'll be supporting the most promising research projects, and providing men with care and support when they need it most. 
Posted: 2019-09-23 8:00:00 AM


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