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Supplement May Play Different Roles in Prostate Scenarios

DHEA may be benign in normal setting, but can spur androgenic activity in cancer

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In the healthy prostate, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) may be benign, but in the presence of reactive stroma and transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1), it may promote more androgenic effects, according to research published online Jan. 13 in Cancer Prevention Research.

Nora E. Gray, of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues grew LAPC-4 prostate cancer cells and prostate stromal cells in co-cultures that were treated with DHEA and/or TGFβ1. The researchers compared prostate-specific antigen expression and testosterone secretion in the co-cultures and monocultured epithelial and stromal cells.

Adding TGFβ1 to DHEA-treated co-cultured cells increased prostate-specific antigen secretion, the researchers report. DHEA increased prostate-specific antigen gene expression in the co-cultures compared with LAPC-4 cells in monoculture, and adding TGFβ1 further enhanced the DHEA-induced gene expression. Higher testosterone was seen in co-cultures treated with DHEA compared to cells in monoculture; the addition of TGFβ1 created even higher concentrations of testosterone, the investigators found. Treatment with red clover isoflavone led to a decrease in prostate-specific antigen protein and testosterone metabolism, the report indicates.

"This co-culture model of endocrine-immune-paracrine interactions in the prostate provides a possible tool for identification of natural products or traditional medicines with multiple mechanisms that may prevent cancer progression by participating in stromal-epithelial cell interactions, such as by altering paracrine hormonal signals," the authors write.

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