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Scientists Find Clue for the Prevalence of Bladder Cancer More in Men

s playing a role in bladder cancer."

The work by a team of collaborators from Rochester and from Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan was led by Chang, director of the George Whipple Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a faculty member in the departments of Urology and Pathology and the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.

Chang is an expert on the androgen receptor, which is central to many diseases and conditions, most notably prostate cancer. For that disease, hormone therapy to block the supply of hormones that turn on the receptor is a staple of treatment for men with advanced disease. The new findings open the possibility that perhaps someday, drugs that target male hormones, like those used against prostate cancer, might help men with bladder cancer.

The strongest evidence for the involvement of male hormones in bladder cancer was what happened when Chang's team disabled the androgen receptor in mice. While their normal counterparts with the androgen receptor got significant levels of bladder cancer when exposed to a carcinogen – 92 percent of the males and 42 percent of the females – not a single mouse whose androgen receptor was knocked out developed bladder cancer. The mice without the receptor also had significantly fewer premalignant changes in their bladder.

Besides opening the door to possible new treatments, Chang says the findings could help doctors decide which cases of bladder cancer are most likely to re-occur. His team found a correlation between the frequency of the androgen receptor in tumor cells and the recurrence of the tumor – tumors more likely to re-appear had more of the protein. If the finding holds up in wider testing in human tumors, it would help doctors know which patients to treat aggressively right from the start.

The JNCI paper is the latest installment in a body of research Chang has compiled that shows tha
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