Dr. Michael Lazar of California HIFU discusses the latest research on prostate cancer which offers hope for future treatments and may help to prevent the disease from becoming aggressive.

An interesting new study, conducted by Dr. Andrew Goldstein, an assistant professor of molecular biology and a team of UCLA researchers, highlights a previously unrecognized type of cell that is found in uncommonly high numbers in inflamed areas of the prostate gland. These cells are now thought to initiate prostate cancer in response to genetic mutations.

The study results suggest inflammation increases overall risk for the disease by increasing the available number of affected cells that can develop into prostate cancer. “The findings from research such as this will hopefully lead to the development of better treatments for prostate cancer and prostatitis and offer new screening methods for the diseases associated with the prostate gland,” explains Dr. Michael Lazar, director of California HIFU.

Background on the research

Scientists have known that one of the risk factors for aggressive prostate cancer is chronic inflammation of the prostate (a process whereby cells from the immune system migrate to the prostate gland), but exactly how that process unfolds has been somewhat of a mystery.

Although prostate cancer itself is more common in older men, prostatitis – or inflammation of the prostate gland – can strike at any age. Statistics suggest that as many as one in every six men have this condition at some stage during their lives.

Prostate Inflammation vs. prostatitis

Prostate disease accompanied by inflammation is any medical problem that affects the prostate gland and can include;

  • benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • prostatitis
  • prostate cancer

Inflammation of the prostate gland or ‘prostatitis’ is commonly accompanied by symptoms of soreness and irritation of the prostate gland. It is accompanied by frequent, sometimes painful urination and lower back pain that can eventually lead to fever, chills and muscle pain – hallmarks of bacterial infection.

Prostatitis can be caused by both a bacterial infection (acute) and non-bacterial inflammation (chronic). But no matter which aspect of the disease a man has, it can be very painful and have a negative effect on quality of life. The new research suggests that inflammation of the prostate such as occurs in prostatitis can lead to prostate cancer in predictable ways.

Research details

UCLA-led research has previously shown that two different types of cells, known as basal and luminal, represented potential precursors to prostate cancer. Further research by colleagues at Johns Hopkins Medical Center observed that prostate cells in the proximity of inflammation appeared different under the microscope and expressed different genes, leading to the hypothesis that these types of cells were more likely to multiply than are normal prostate cells not under stress by inflammation.

Under the new study the UCLA team discovered that cells originating from areas with inflammation are indeed the more aggressive cells known to initiate tumors, validating the earlier hypothesis and expanding on the possibility for more research, and potentially better treatment options.

“With this new research urologists now have the opportunity to look at the importance of managing symptoms of inflammation early,” says Dr. Lazar. “Better management of the inflammation could very well lead to prostate cancer prevention. Continuing research on the subject will likely help to direct better treatments as new study results are revealed.”

About California HIFU and Dr. Lazar

HIFU is a FDA approved precise and targeted therapy that reduces the risk of complications caused by surgery and radiation. HIFU uses ultrasound energy, or sound waves, to heat and destroy specifically targeted areas of tissue. HIFU has many proven advantages over traditional treatment modalities for prostate disease.

Dr. Michael Lazar is the only Northern California physician recognized as a leader in the use HIFU for prostate cancer. He has been successfully treating patients with HIFU since 2007. Dr. Lazar formed California HIFU in order to offer minimally invasive prostate cancer treatment to men with the Sonablate. For more information about HIFU treatment or to make an appointment call: (707) 546-5553 or visit our website: www.californiahifu.com.