New research from the University of Missouri suggests that testosterone, a primary male steroid hormone, could contribute to the formation of cancerous polyps in the colon.
The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, examined naturally occurring colon cancers in a group of male rats. The lead researchers extracted testosterone from the rats, and reported a significant decrease in the number of colon cancer cases present.
In order to validate these findings, the study authors re-injected the rats with testosterone and reported a return to the normal levels of colon cancer incidence within the group.
Prior research suggested that female hormones may have contained a protective mechanism against colon cancer tumor growth, which explained the higher rates of colon cancer in men versus women. However, this study contends that the higher incidence rates in men may be due to the higher levels of testosterone present in the male body.
Supplemental research is now underway to determine the genetic patterns that cause discrepancies between men and women with regard to colon cancer tumor growth.
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