A recent study has shown a link between losing Y chromosomes and developing bladder cancer in men.
The findings, which were published in the journal Nature, revealed that as men age, they begin to lose Y chromosomes in their cells, and this could make them weaker against certain cancers.
According to the study, which involved laboratory mice, bladder cancer was able to evade the immune system of those who had a lower level of Y chromosome.
Dr Dan Theodorescu, physician and director of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, said: “It’s the first demonstration that losing Y chromosomes makes the cancer more aggressive.”
The researchers found the tumour cells in the mice that lacked Y chromosomes were twice as aggressive as those that did not.
Although losing Y chromosomes due to age has been linked with heart disease and Alzheimer’s in the past, this is the first time a study has been able to prove its connection with an increased risk of bladder cancer.
As the cancer cells are able to escape the body’s immune system, they can grow much more quickly.
This research could also help scientists come up with a treatment, such as by boosting the immune system of those at higher risk.
They can do this through checkpoint inhibitors. These can revive T-cells, which are weakened by Y chromosome loss.
The T-cells are important at helping to fight off cancer cells, so giving them a boost means they are better able to attack the tumour.
However, this response depends on the type of cancer, according to oncologist specialist in bladder cancers Dr Jeanny Aragon-Ching.
Speaking with Live Science, the scientist said Y chromosome loss is not always bad for a patient.
For instance, researchers for another study found a decline in Y chromosomes could make colorectal tumours less aggressive.
The HSJ recently noted that treatments to bladder cancer need to be more specific, as there is currently too much variation.
At a recent roundtable event, which was funded by Bristol Myers Squibb, the panellists agreed the current pathway for treatment was “often inefficient”.
The article stated this can lead to a “slow diagnosis of MIBC [muscle-invasive and metastatic bladder cancer] – a condition in which speed is particularly important, as delays to treatment are associated with worse outcomes”.
As there is a huge list of people waiting to hear about their diagnosis, doctors often have to rush the diagnostics, and this can take the focus off determining the right level of care depending on the level of risk.
“It may be more appropriate to use more time discussing the more complex cases,” the HSJ stated.
According to Cancer Research, around 80 per cent of people survive bladder cancer for five or more years if they are diagnosed at stage one.
In comparison, this falls to ten per cent when diagnosed at stage four when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body or the lymph nodes.
To get an early diagnosis and improve life expectancy, contact leading Sheffield bladder cancer oncologists today.