Endocrine-Induced Regression of Cancers

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Science  26 May 1967:
Vol. 156, Issue 3778, pp. 1050-1054
DOI: 10.1126/science.156.3778.1050


Cancer is not necessarily autonomous and intrinsically self-perpetuating. Its growth can be sustained and propagated by hormonal function in the host which is not unusual in kind or exaggerated in rate but which is operating at normal or even subnormal levels.

Hormones, or synthetic substances inducing physiologic effects similar thereto, are of crucial significance for survival of several kinds of hormone-responsive cancers in man and animals. Opposite sorts of change of the hormonal status can induce regression and, in some instances, cure such cancers. These modifications are deprivation of essential hormones and hormone interference by giving large amounts of critical compounds.

The control of cancer by endocrine methods can be described in three propositions: (i) Some types of cancer cells differ in a cardinal way from the cells from which they arose in their response to change in their hormonal environment. (ii) Certain cancers are hormone-dependent and these cells die when supporting hormones are eliminated. (iii) Certain cancers succumb when large amounts of hormones are administered.