Male sex hormones and their receptors may be involved in the development and progression of bladder cancer, according to a study in mice published in the April 4 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Men have a considerably higher incidence of bladder cancer than women, though the reasons remain a mystery. Bladder cancer has been linked to exposure to cigarette smoke and industrial chemicals, but it was not previously considered to be influenced by male sex hormones, called androgens.
Chawnshang Chang, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., used a chemical carcinogen to induce bladder cancer in normal male and female mice and in mice lacking functional androgen receptors. They also treated human bladder cancer cell lines to reduce androgen levels or androgen receptor activity. Some of these cell lines were injected into mice.
None of the androgen receptor-free mice developed bladder cancer when treated with the carcinogen, whereas more than 92 percent of the normal male mice and 42 percent of the normal female mice did. Human bladder cancer cells with reduced androgen levels or androgen receptor activity grew more slowly in culture and in mice then cells with normal androgen and androgen receptor levels.
"The results presented here have the potential to provide the basis for the development of new preventive or therapeutic approaches for bladder cancer, via targeting androgens and the [androgen receptor]," the authors write.
Note: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute is published by Oxford University Press and is not affiliated with the National Cancer Institute.
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