Androgen deprivation therapy may be helping prostate cancer cells produce a protein that encourages the development of cancer throughout the body. The therapy is designed to slow tumour growth by reducing the body's levels of testosterone.
It's a therapy that is usually given only when prostate cancer becomes aggressive and is likely to metastasize, or spread.
But, say researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the therapy may increase the chance of the cancer spreading by promoting a gene known as nestin, which is usually found in other organs when cancer has metastasized.
A major review of prostate cancer care will be needed if these early worrying signs are proven in full clinical trials.
(Source: Cancer Research, 2007; 67: 9199-9206).