Androgen Deprivation Therapy in Prostate Cancer May Counter Immunotherapy, Raising Risk of Relapse

Androgen Deprivation Therapy in Prostate Cancer May Counter Immunotherapy, Raising Risk of Relapse
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have shown that medical androgen deprivation therapy, commonly used in combination with promising immunotherapies, can actually suppress the immune response and block the efficacy of the immunotherapy. The findings, which might explain early tumor relapses, underscore the need for careful planning in terms of dosing and timing when a combination therapy approach is used. The research paper, “Androgen receptor antagonists compromise T cell response against prostate cancer leading to early tumor relapse,” was published in Science Translational Medicine. Medical androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), also known as chemical castration, is the most common non-surgical therapy for prostate cancer. It intends to decrease androgen levels, a hormone required for prostate tumors’ survival and growth. Cancer immunotherapy, in which the immune system is stimulated to fight malignant cells, has shown promising results in many cancers, including prostate cancer. As such, several attempts have been made to combine immunotherapy with more standard therapies, such as ADT. Using mouse models, researchers studied the effects of ADTs on the immune system, searching for reasons for the relapse rates of prostate tumors after treatment. The team found that while castration ADT works well with immunotherapy, some pharmacological androgen receptor antagonists can possibly reduce T-cell responses, leading to cancer relapse. “Our study shows that in some patients, this poor response could also be due to the radiation or chemotherapy itself suppressing the immune response,” Dr. Yang-Xin Fu, the study's s
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