University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Testosterone in Prostate Cancer -- New Way to Block Hormones

By Jeffrey Norris, UCSF Science Cafe | April 10, 2009

There's a new way to stop the hormonal effects of testosterone, thanks to UCSF neurologist Marc Diamond, MD. Diamond studies the androgen receptor. The androgen receptor ("andro" means man) relays the male hormone's signal to the interior of cells.

Why would one want to block testosterone? And what business is testosterone to a neurologist?

Testosterone loss is not something men generally look forward to. But for men with aggressive prostate cancer, sometimes blocking male hormones is the only hope.

In fact, preventing testosterone production or blocking its hormone activity is a valued treatment not only for advanced prostate cancer, but also for male pattern baldness and benignly enlarged prostates. Male hormones - androgens - are implicated in other medical conditions as well. One is a rare, inherited neuromuscular disorder that results from genetic mutation to the androgen receptor.

That's how Diamond became interested in androgen receptors. Now Diamond's research has led to a potential new target for prostate cancer treatment, a disease that kills more than 30,000 US men each year.

Read more at Jeffrey Norris, UCSF Science Cafe