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Researchers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton are moving closer to determining the safest form of hormone therapy for men with prostate cancer by discovering a treatment with fewer cardio-related side effects. A recent study published in Urologic Oncology has suggested that using GnRH antagonist therapy provides the safest form of hormone therapy in mice models. Ongoing research by Drs. Jehonathan Pinthus, Associate Professor of Urology and Surgical Oncology and Helga Duivenvoorden, Assistant Professor at the Department of Surgery at McMaster University and Researchers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton will reveal how these findings will apply to the clinical treatment of prostate cancer.

“Hormone therapy often produces a number of side-effects, including an increased risk of obesity, heart attack and stroke,” explains Dr. Pinthus. “Our research has shown that compared to other forms of hormone therapy, using GnRH antagonist therapy achieves the same therapeutic effects in eliminating testosterone, a growth factor for prostate cancer, but with a lower risk of obesity and atherosclerosis, factors that lead to heart attacks and stroke. We believe that these differences may relate to better suppression of a hormone named FSH, which may have a significant role in modulating obesity and atherosclerosis in aging populations.”

The recently published and ongoing laboratory research, taking place within St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences’ Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute was made possible with a grant from Ferring Pharmaceuticals. The study uses mice models to determine the effects various types of hormone therapy have on body composition (in terms of fat gain and muscle loss) and on the development of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. A number of medical tests that are also administered to humans – such as CT scans, glucose tolerance tests, and blood pressure evaluations – are used in order to determine how the mice respond to different types of hormone therapy.

“We’re currently looking at how to best translate the findings of this study to improve the quality of life of patients with prostate cancer, who are treated with hormonal therapy” states Dr. Pinthus. “By measuring patients’ energy expenditures, as well as their diet and bodyweight, we hope that our results will make hormone therapy safer for men with prostate cancer.”

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