Depression drugs can be used in the treatment of prostate cancer


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK, with about 48,500 new cases annually. It is the cause of death in about 11,700 people each year. Surgery to remove the prostate gland or radiotherapy are the main treatment options.

Approximately 15,000 cases recur each year, and affected people are often given medications or hormone injections to stop the production of testosterone.

This method is very effective at preventing cancer but can cause serious side effects including hot flashes, fatigue, impotence, muscle loss, and thinning of bones. Research shows that taking phenelzine along with hormone therapy reduces these side effects.

Phenelzine is a drug called an MAO inhibitor, which treats depression by blocking an enzyme called monoamine oxidase that breaks down serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that help the brain “feel better”.

MAO inhibitors were the first antidepressants introduced 70 years ago, but are no longer in common use, in part because they can interact with other drugs. But like its role in depression, the enzyme monoamine oxidase is known to promote prostate cancer cells to grow.

Phenelzine, a depressant drug that came out about 70 years ago, is currently underutilized to treat prostate cancer and reduce the side effects of other treatments.

Supplying phenelzine can disrupt the signals that testosterone sends to cancer cells, prompting them to grow. However, unlike hormone therapy, phenelzine does not suppress the production of testosterone and thus avoids its unpleasant side effects.

The results of a small trial showed that the drug phenelzine that treats depression (by altering the levels of chemicals in the brain that help regulate mood) could shrink tumors in men with cancer recurrence. Prostate and reduce the side effects of other treatments.

Phenelzine has fewer side effects than conventional hormone therapy, treating cancer by lowering testosterone levels – the hormone that promotes the growth of cancer cells.

Researchers at the University of Southern California, USA, injected phenelzine to 20 men with recurrent prostate cancer after surgery, at doses similar to those used to treat depression (60mg to 90mg).

This is done twice a day for 12 weeks, an antidepressant that cuts prostate-specific antigen protein (PSA) levels in 55% of men (measuring PSA levels allows the doctor to monitor progress. development of prostate cancer).

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PSA levels in 5 men decreased by at least 30% and in one person decreased 74%. Some participants experienced side effects including dry mouth, fatigue and mild dizziness, as reported by the Journal of Prostate Cancer and Prostate Disease.

The team says that using the drug may mean the need for lower dose hormone therapy, which will reduce serious side effects due to a lack of testosterone or that this drug can be used first. , cutting men’s hormone treatment time.

Professor Nicholas James, head of the prostate and bladder cancer research group at the Institute for Cancer Research, London, says finding new uses for existing drugs is a quick way to bring about new treatments.

Professor James added: “As a clinician as well as my patients it would be extremely attractive to have therapies that delay hormone therapy. This information is definitely worth the research of medical professionals and scientists. “

Huong Giang (Source: dailymail)

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