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Dihydrotestosterone and cancer risk

Chan, Yi, X.a,b; Yeap, Bu, B.a,b

Current Opinion in Endocrinology & Diabetes and Obesity: June 2018 - Volume 25 - Issue 3 - p 209–217
doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000411
ANDROGENS: Edited by David Handelsman

Purpose of review Androgens have been implicated in prostate growth; however, the role of androgens in prostate cancer development is not clear. Furthermore, studies suggest a role for androgens in female-hormone-dependent cancers and common nonhormone dependent cancers. This study aims to review key studies and more recent studies of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and cancer risk.

Recent findings Epidemiological studies are reassuring as they have not associated endogenous androgens with prostate cancer risk. Intraprostatic regulation of DHT is becoming recognized as an important area of research to clarify the role of DHT in prostate cancer development. In females, further understanding of intracrine regulation of sex hormones and interactions between androgens and estrogens in influencing breast and endometrial cancer risk are required. Studies show a signal for DHT in modulating lung and colorectal cancer growth; however, research in this area is relatively scarce and further studies are required to clarify these associations.

Summary Although concerns of prostate cancer risk remain, there is also potential for androgens to modulate the growth and development of other common cancers. Further research is required as this may have clinical implications.

aSchool of Medicine, University of Western Australia

bDepartment of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Correspondence to Yi X. Chan, School of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Tel: +61 8 6151 1149; fax: +61 8 6151 1199; e-mail: yi.chan@uwa.edu.au

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