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Marijuana use may increase risk of testicular cancer
Date:9/9/2012

A new study from the University of Southern California (USC) has found a link between recreational marijuana use and an increased risk of developing subtypes of testicular cancer that tend to carry a somewhat worse prognosis. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest that the potential cancer-causing effects of marijuana on testicular cells should be considered not only in personal decisions regarding recreational drug use, but also when marijuana and its derivatives are used for therapeutic purposes in young male patients.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in young men ages 15 to 45 years. The malignancy is becoming more common, and researchers suspect this is due to increasing exposure to unrecognized environmental causes.

To see if recreational drug use might play a role, Victoria Cortessis, MSPH, PhD, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, and her colleagues looked at the self-reported history of recreational drug use in 163 young men diagnosed with testicular cancer and compared it with that of 292 healthy men of the same age and race/ethnicity.

The investigators found that men with a history of using marijuana were twice as likely to have subtypes of testicular cancer called non-seminoma and mixed germ cell tumors. These tumors usually occur in younger men and carry a somewhat worse prognosis than the seminoma subtype. The study's findings confirm those from two previous reports in CANCER on a potential link between marijuana use and testicular cancer.

"We do not know what marijuana triggers in the testis that may lead to carcinogenesis, although we speculate that it may be acting through the endocannabinoid systemthe cellular network that responds to the active ingredient in marijuanasince this system has been shown to be important in the formation of sperm,"
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Contact: Amy Molnar
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
Wiley
Source:Eurekalert

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