Endocrine disruptors and prostate cancer.

Arch Esp Urol 2017 04;70(3):331-335

Unidad docente de Urología. Departamento de Cirugía. Facultad de Medicina. Universidad de Málaga. Málaga.España.

Objectives: Although prostate cancer is probably the most frequent cancer in men, little is known about its etiology. Clear evidence exists about variations in the incidence of prostate cancer between populations living in different countries. These variations could be explained by differences in lifestyle and a possible association with a set of substances that are able to intervene in the origin of the disease.

Methods: The reason that lifestyle may be the cause of prostate cancer is related to endocrine disruptors. These are a group of chemical substances that can mimic or alter hormone signaling. These disruptors are able to exert their effect at very low doses and act insidiously over the years, even being able to pass their effect on from one generation to the next. Cholesterol is an essential precursor in the synthesis of androgens, estrogens and other substances that are active in prostate cancer. Cholesterol is a central metabolite in lipid metabolism, the inflammatory response and other elements involved in the formation and progression of cancer. High cholesterol concentrations can give rise to the accumulation of androgens in tumor cells. Additionally, endocrine disruptors have been identified as being responsible for processes related with fertility, genital malformations and various hormonedependent cancers. Disruptors already identified include diethylstilbestrol, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins.

Results: Though no clear direct association has yet been found in humans between most endocrine disruptors and prostate cancer, evidence suggests that an inadequate diet and contact with certain toxic agents predisposes to the disease. These disruptors are known to be especially relevant at particular times, such as during pregnancy, neonatal stages and puberty.

Conclusions: The problem with these toxic agents is that their peculiarities and way of acting over time make their study difficult. Nonetheless, research must be encouraged given their importance.
April 2017
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