Fetal exposure to radiation increases risk of testicular cancer
Male fetuses of mothers that are exposed to radiation during early pregnancy may have an increased chance of developing testicular cancer, according to a study in mice at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The article was published today in PLoS ONE.
The study is the first to find an environmental cause for testicular germ cell tumors, the most common cancer in young Caucasian men.
"This discovery launches a major shift in the current research model, placing DNA-damaging agents in the forefront as likely mediators of testicular cancer induction," said corresponding author Gunapala Shetty, Ph.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson's Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology.
Increasing incidence, few answers
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 8,500 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. During the past 50 years, the incidence has tripled in young Caucasian men throughout the world.
"This increase and the characteristics of germ cell tumors strongly suggest that fetal exposure to an environmental agent is responsible," Shetty said. "However, the identification of any agent producing increases in testicular cancer has eluded scientists."
Endocrine disruptors, chemicals that alter the endocrine or hormonal system, have been widely suggested as the cause of testicular cancer, but there has been no proof. Fetuses are especially vulnerable to even small amounts of the substances, which are known to cause developmental and cognitive issues.
Radiation induces cancer, 2 endocrine disrupters don't
This study began as an examination of endocrine disruptors as a possible cause of testicular cancer. Researchers separately tested two such substances, the estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) and the antiandrogen flutamide.
The endocrine disruptors were introduced into a mouse strain with a high spontaneous incidence of testicular cancer, which should make them more sensitive to cancer caused by environmental agents. But the results showed no increase in testicular cancer.
However, when researchers gave modest doses of radiation, which is a DNA-damaging agent, to female mice in the middle of their pregnancies, all the male offspring developed testicular cancer, compared to 45 percent of mice not exposed to radiation. In addition, the tumors were more aggressive and had more sites of origin.
This study suggests that DNA-damaging agents, rather than endocrine disruptors, should be examined as a factor in the increased prevalence of testicular cancer.
"Although radiation exposure of pregnant females has been declining and is unlikely to be responsible for this increase, we intend to follow this up with studies of DNA-damaging chemicals found in cigarette smoke and air pollution, to which exposures of pregnant women have been increasing," said study senior author Marvin Meistrich, Ph.D., professor in MD Anderson's Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology.
This study opens the door to possibilities for wide-ranging investigation, and researchers agree much work remains to be done.
"A second class of DNA-damaging agents that we intend to study is chemotherapy drugs like cyclophosphamide, which are used to treat pregnant women with breast cancer," Shetty said. "Studies at MD Anderson of the children of these women did not show increases in birth or developmental defects. However, we need to test these agents in our animal model since testicular cancer usually does not appear until early adulthood."
Provided by University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
- Relatives of boys with sexual birth defects not at risk for testicular germ cell cancer Dec 21, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Severe gestational hypertension may protect against testicular cancer Oct 30, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Male infertility associated with testicular cancer Feb 23, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Three new genetic variants that increase testicular cancer risk Jun 15, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Environmental chemicals found in breast milk and high incidence of testicular cancer Sep 24, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) and other non-coding RNAs are small molecules that help control the expression of specific proteins. In recent years they have emerged as disease biomarkers. miRNA profiles have been used ...
Cancer 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Cancer cells spread and grow by avoiding detection and destruction by the immune system. Stimulation of the immune system can help to eliminate cancer cells; however, there are many factors that cause the immune system to ...
Cancer 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers from London's Kingston University have begun a two-year study which could help prolong the lives of people with colorectal tumours.
Cancer 15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Transformative research from Western University has identified new hormones in the body which may suppress breast cancer and stimulate the regression of breast tumors.
Cancer 15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Curtin University researchers have found evidence that targeting specific cells in the body can reverse the effects of cancer on the immune system.
Cancer 16 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—A new study by researchers in the US has shown that an ancient virus can be modified to help in the fight against the simian immunodeficiency virus SIV, which is the equivalent in monkeys ...
15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Two mutations central to the development of infantile myofibromatosis (IM)—a disorder characterized by multiple tumors involving the skin, bone, and soft tissue—may provide new therapeutic targets, according to researchers ...
9 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Women at a particular stage in their monthly menstrual cycle may be more vulnerable to some of the psychological side-effects associated with stressful experiences, according to a study from UCL.
12 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Biological processes are generally based on events at the molecular and cellular level. To understand what happens in the course of infections, diseases or normal bodily functions, scientists would need to ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
Talking on a hands-free device while behind the wheel can lead to a sharp increase in errors that could imperil other drivers on the road, according to new research from the University of Alberta.
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0