McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Movember funds McMaster research on prostate cancer treatment

By Amanada Boundris
Published: April 15, 2015
Jehonathan Pinthus
Jehonathan Pinthus, associate professor, Department of Surgery

McMaster researcher Jehonathan Pinthus and his team will receive up to $3.5 million over five years to address the potential link between androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) — an important and common treatment for prostate cancer — and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Movember Foundation and Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC) announced the funding today. The grant competition focused on minimizing burdens associated with prostate cancer treatment.

"By eliminating testosterone production, ADT reduces the risk of death and other complications from prostate cancer," said Pinthus, an associate professor of the Department of Surgery at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. "However, many past studies have both raised and dismissed concerns that ADT causes heart disease in otherwise healthy subjects, or exacerbates it in people with pre-existing conditions."

Pinthus will lead a multidisciplinary Canadian research team with expertise in cardiology, endocrinology and metabolism, urology oncology, radiation oncology and epidemiology.

"This has never been studied this way, where you take prostate cancer patients and you follow them to capture cardiovascular morbidity, mortality and risk factors," said Pinthus. "We are going to define which patients are at risk, using a huge biobank of serum (blood) and urine samples to investigate relevant known and novel biomarkers for cardiovascular disease."

The study will be conducted out of the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster and Hamilton Health Sciences.

"In men with metastatic or advanced stage prostate cancer, ADT has demonstrated a great deal of efficacy in saving and extending lives," said Stuart Edmonds, PCC vice-president of Research, Health Promotion and Survivorship. "In order to make this important treatment as safe as possible, we need to clearly understand the cardiovascular side effects and develop a comprehensive plan to monitor and manage them. This study aims to do just that."

The grant competition "aims to improve the lives of men suffering from the effects of advanced prostate cancer treatment, and our goal is to accelerate breakthroughs in prostate cancer research that patients can benefit from in their everyday lives," said Pete Bombaci, country director, Movember Canada.

Pinthus hopes that with his research: "We will have a better understanding of the risk of cardiovascular disease with androgen deprivation therapy or hormonal therapy, which prostate cancer patients are more prone to develop, methods to predict and potentially prevent it."

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