Research Highlights: Gut Bacteria Promote Therapy Resistant Prostate Cancer

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Gut Bacteria Promote Therapy Resistant Prostate Cancer

October 11, 2021

  • Androgens such as testosterone are important for male sexual and reproductive function.
  • Androgens play a role in the growth of prostate cancer cells.
  • Decreasing androgens by means of castration or hormone suppression is the current treatment for prostate cancer.
  • Castration refers to the process of removing the testicles in males.
  • The microbiota consist of microorganisms that inhabit a particular environment or location in or on the host.
  • Microbiota contains different types of organisms which includes symbiotic, commensal, and pathogenic microorganisms.
  • The role of the gut microbiota to the emergence of castration-resistance prostate cancer has not yet been addressed.
  • Researchers discovered that deprivation of androgen in mice and humans encourages the expansion of some commensal microbiota that helps to begin the castration resistance.
  • They found that when the body was deprived of androgens during the therapy, the gut microbiome could produce androgens from androgen precursors.
  • When the gut microbiota was removed by antibiotic therapy, the emergence of castration resistance was delayed even when mice are immunodeficient.
  • Fecal microbiota transplantation from castration-resistance prostate cancer mice and patients gave mice harboring prostate cancer resistant to castration.
  • In constrast, the growth of tumor was controlled by fecal microbiota transplantation from patients with hormone-sensitive prostate cancer.
  • Fecal microbiota transplantation, also known as a stool transplant, is the process of transferring fecal bacteria from a healthy individual into another individual.
  • The results suggest that the commensal gut bacteria contributes to endocrine resistance in castration-resistance prostate cancer by providing an alternative source of androgens.

Sources:

Pernigoni, N., Zagato, E., Calcinotto, A., Troiani, M., Mestre, R. P., Calì, B., Attanasio, G., Troisi, J., Minini, M., Mosole, S., Revandkar, A., Pasquini, E., Elia, A. R., Bossi, D., Rinaldi, A., Rescigno, P., Flohr, P., Hunt, J., Neeb, A., Buroni, L., … Alimonti, A. (2021). Commensal bacteria promote endocrine resistance in prostate cancer through androgen biosynthesis. Science (New York, N.Y.), 374(6564), 216–224. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abf8403

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