26 January 2013

Behavioral Stress Accelerates Prostate Cancer Development

Two studies in the Journal of Clinical Investigation focus on behavioral stress and its effect on prostate cancer. The studies show that stress accelerates prostate cancer.

A vicious circle of stress signaling in prostate cancer.
Credit: Kulik et al., JCI
One definition of stress by the American Psychological Association (APA) is that it is any "stress is any uncomfortable emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes.”

There are three kinds of stress according to the APA, Acute Stress, Episodic Acute Stress, and Chronic Stress. Of the three, acute stress is the most common. This is the type of stress felt from the demands and pressures everyday situations, from the recent past to the near future.

Episodic Acute Stress is similar to acute stress but is felt by the person more frequently. People who worry too much, pessimists, disorganized, or are always in a rush are some of the types who experience this type of stress.

Chronic stress is felt by people who do see any hope in their situation and have given up searching for solutions. It is a type of stress that is long term and wears down people the longer it stays. A problem with chronic stress is that it is deep-rooted in one's psyche that people get used to it and forget that it's there.

Psychoneuroimmunology studies show that there is a correlation between one's psychological behavior and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. People who suffer chronic stress or even the other two types of stress (in a minor way) may affect one's health and well-being.

Cancer Patients and Stress

Prostate cancer patients have increased levels of stress and anxiety; however, several recent studies have found that men who take drugs that interfere with the stress hormone adrenaline have a lower incidence of prostate cancer.

Video: Coping With Stress: Cognitive-Behavioral Stress Reduction

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation George Kulik and colleagues at Wake Forest University examined the relationship between stress and cancer progression in a mouse model of prostate cancer. Kulik and colleagues found that mice that had been subjected to stress (exposed to the scent of a predator) exhibited a significantly reduced response to a drug that induces cancer cell death compared to their unstressed counterparts. Administration of adrenaline also blocked cancer cell death. Conversely, drugs that inhibited adrenaline signaling ablated the effect of stress on prostate cancer.

These findings suggest that beta-blockers, which are used for the treatment of high blood pressure and block the effects of adrenaline, could increase the efficacy of anti-cancer therapies. In a companion commentary, Anil Sood and colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center discuss additional studies that will be required to move these findings from bench to bedside.


Journal of Clinical Investigation
Why stress is BAD for cancer patients
Behavioral stress accelerates prostate cancer development in mice
Understanding Chronic Stress
Psychoneuroimmunology - The Link Between Loneliness, Stress and The Immune System
Study Leads to Better Understanding How Stress Affects The Brain
The Science of Understanding Stress
Stress Management Program Reduces Multiple Sclerosis Disease Activity
Dream Sleep Relieves Stress from Emotional Pain
Study Finds Sleep Patterns And Neurobehavioral Effects As A Concern On Manned Mission To Mars
Maternal Stress Puts Newborns At Risk For Iron Deficiency Anemia
Transcendental Meditation Increases Survival Rate in Heart Patients And Reduces Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack
Beehive Byproduct Rich in CAPE, Propolis As Treatment For Prostate Cancer
Oregano As Herbal Treatment For Prostate Cancer
Proton Therapy For Prostate Cancer Treatment