Johns Hopkins researcher finds relationship between androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and the potential for cells to metastasize. This goes against the common practice of giving ADT to men at varying stages of prostate cancer. This is a very early study and must be verified but men may want to discuss this new information with their physicians. Do not panic. As the researchers say, discovery is far too preliminary for prostate cancer patients or physicians to stop using ADT. My thought is that they need to check additional cell lines and look for possible genetic associations. It may be that a subset of men have this issue.

David Berman, an assistant professor of pathology, urology and oncology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and his colleagues identified the unsuspected potential problem with treatments that suppress testosterone after discovering that the gene that codes for the protein, called nestin, was active in lab-grown human prostate cancer cells.

Curious about whether prostate cancer cells in people also produce nestin, the researchers looked for it in cells taken from men who had surgery to remove locally confined cancers of their prostates and found none. But when they looked for nestin in prostate cancer cells isolated from patients who had died of metastatic prostate cancer – in which cancer cells spread out from the prostate tumor – they found substantial evidence that the nestin gene was active.

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