A “Buffet” of Prostate Cancer News Items; Hormonal and Radiation Therapy, Younger Patients and the Effects of Statin Drugs.

1) Intermittent Hormonal Therapy: Prostate cancer is often kept “under control” by depriving the cancer cells of their “fuel”, namely androgens such as testosterone or dihydrotestosterone. Androgen deprivation (hormonal) therapy (ADT) is often applied on an intermittent basis the goal of which is to minimize potentially harmful side effects. The May 11th edition of the Johns Hopkins Prostate Disorders Health Alerts contained an excellent overview of intermittent androgen suppression.

2) Why Androgen Deprivation Enhances Radiation Therapy: It has been known since 2011 that adding a short course of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to radiation therapy in prostate cancer patients increased their chances for survival. Recent research indicates that the rationale for this combination treatment lies in the fact that ADT retards the ability of cancer cells to repair DNA damage caused by the radiation therapy thus leading to their programmed cell death or apoptosis. One such DNA repair enzyme is called DNAPK which may be a good target for antitumor drug development. Inhibitors of a similar single-strand DNA repair enzyme, PARP1 [(polyADP-ribose) polymerase], are currently being evaluated in Phase III clinical trials involving breast and ovarian cancers. (PARP1 inhibitors seem to have a beneficial effect on women with a specific BRCA breast cancer genetic mutation.) The relationship between the androgen receptor (AR) and DNA repair proteins such as DNAPK is also summarized in the March 31st issue of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) NewsPulse.

3) A Study Comparing “Watchful Waiting” versus Surgery in Younger Prostate Cancer Patients: A joint Swedish – Harvard life expectancy study of 700 men with early prostate cancer and published in the March 6th New England Journal of Medicine concluded that surgery (radical prostatectomy) may “trump” watchful waiting in younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer. A summary of this study and comments by other researchers was published in the March 31st issue of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) NewsPulse.

4) The Effects of Statin Drugs On Prostate Cancer: The March 31st PCF NewsPulse also contained a review of various studies related to the effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs on prostate cancer. Researchers conclude that statins do not have an effect on the incidence of prostate cancer however prolonged use may lower the risk of advanced disease and death. No protective effects from statins have been observed and there does not seem to be any association between statin use and early incidence of prostate cancer. Current research is focused on where statins may play a role in the overall prostate cancer cycle.

Four Clinical Trials Involving Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer Patients Who are Low-Risk or Under Active Surveillance.

The Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) recently published details of four (4) clinical trials which are recruiting low-risk prostate cancer patients or those currently under active surveillance. Low-risk determination is based upon PSA, Gleason score, and clinical stage. The treatments offered are referred to as “focal therapy” wherein a portion of the prostate is being treated instead of the entire gland. The clinical trials include brachytherapy (radioactive seeds), laser (interstitial thermal therapy) and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Details concerning location, eligibility criteria, and contact information are provided in the PCRI link. Clinical trial locations include Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, University of Chicago, Mayo Clinic, City of Hope, and Desert Medical Imaging (California). Three of these studies involve MRI-guided therapies.

A Lesson Learned: Website Pictures Were Lost, Now Are Found.

I started to write a post last night dealing with some very interesting prostate cancer clinical trials. Upon logging on to my website, I discovered to my dismay that all the previous pictures that I had posted were missing and only one remained, that one appearing on every section. I verified that no written content had been altered hence hackers were not involved. My personal knowledge of website maintenance is sorely limited.

My passion, mission and ministry is to communicate spiritual (Christian) and medical content to you, the readers and especially to those who, like me, face prostate cancer. I personally maintain this site financially but I have been blessed with two colleagues who are website experts and who are compensated to maintain this site. The problem with the missing pictures is “under review” as I write this. The website problems put a damper over my morning but as so often happens, God had a specific word for me as I read my morning devotionals. The first was the May 8th devotional in Our Daily Bread.

The Bible reference was from 2 Corinthians 4:1-6. Verse one reads as follows. “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do NOT lose heart.” This was just what I needed to hear!!!! As Christians, we are not immune to life’s problems.  The Lord just told me in His word, that I am not to lose heart. God has the solutions, and when we submit our lives and all its component parts to Christ’s lordship, His methods always lead to the best results when all is said and done. I humbly ask for your prayers that our “picture” problem be solved and that this website can continue to be of service and remain functional.

It took about 3-4 hours of work to solve the problem with the pictures. So whatever our situation, may we not waver in our faith and trust in the Lord. (If you are not sure of your relationship with God, see the linked website section.) As the most loving Father, God has our best interests at heart and let us remember to trust Him in whatever circumstance and location wherein He has planted us. May people with whom we have contact see God and Jesus through our actions and attitudes. In the words of an old song, “you may be the only Bible some will ever read.” So “let’s bloom where we are planted.”

Bloom where we are planted; BJ Gabrielsen photo.
Bloom where we are planted; BJ Gabrielsen photo.