International Health News

Testosterone supplementation and prostate cancer

KIRKLAND, WASHINGTON. Conventional medicine wisdom has it that high levels of male sex hormones (androgens) are associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer and a more rapid tumour growth. This has led to the use of chemical or physical castration in an attempt to reduce natural androgen production and thereby deprive the tumour of the androgen it supposedly requires to keep growing. Unfortunately, the effect of castration is often temporary and subsequent tumours tend to be more virulent than the original one.

Now Dr. Richmond Prehn, MD of the University of Washington challenges the assumption that high androgen levels are a risk factor for prostate cancer. Dr. Prehn points out that androgen levels decline with age whereas prostate cancer incidence rises sharply. He suggests that declining androgen levels may not only lead to benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), but may also be the initiator of uncontrolled cell growth which may ultimately lead to cancer. He further suggests that "androgen supplementation beginning early in the middle years might, among other possible benefits, largely prevent prostate cancer." Dr. Prehn cautions that androgen supplementation may be contra-indicated in older men who already have the seeds of prostate cancer. He also suggests that an alternating regimen of androgen deprivation and androgen supplementation should be evaluated as a therapy for prostate cancer.
Prehn, Richmond T. On the prevention and therapy of prostate cancer by androgen administration. Cancer Research, Vol. 59, September 1, 1999, pp. 4161-64

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