Endocrine disruptors and prostate cancer.Authors:
Eduardo Sánchez de Badajoz, José María Lage-Sánchez y Pilar Sánchez-Gallegos.
Arch. Esp. Urol. 2017; 70 (3): 331-335
Vol. 70, Number. 3, April 2017
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.