Sumary of ‘Gut bugs’ can drive prostate cancer growth and treatment resistance:
- Common gut bacteria can fuel the growth of prostate cancers and allow them to evade the effects of treatment, a new study finds.
- Scientists revealed how gut bacteria contribute to the progression of advanced prostate cancers and their resistance to hormone therapy — by providing an alternative source of growth-promoting androgens, or male hormones.
- But researchers found that low androgen levels in patients can drive the expansion of gut bacteria, which can become hormone factories to sustain prostate cancer growth.
- Bacterial ‘fingerprints’ identified by scientists may help pick out patients at high risk of developing resistance to treatment who could benefit from strategies to manipulate their ‘microbiome’.
- A team of scientists from The Institute of Cancer Research, London, the Institute of Oncology Research in Bellinzona, Switzerland and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology used mice and patient samples to investigate the role of gut bacteria in prostate cancer growth and progression.
- The study, published in the journal Science, was funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Movember, Prostate Cancer UK, Cancer Research UK and The John Black Charitable Foundation.
- Given the role these ‘gut bugs’ can play in cancer, researchers looked at whether the gut bacteria from men with prostate cancer could also alter patients’ hormone metabolism, and so affect cancer growth.
- Scientists found that getting rid of all gut bacteria in mice with prostate cancer slowed tumour growth and delayed the emergence of hormone resistance.