Cancer cells use thyroid hormones differently f... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK

118,543 members137,488 posts

Cancer cells use thyroid hormones differently from non cancer ones

diogenes profile image

I hope this post isn't directly relevant here to anyone, but it's interesting in showing that cells can be very different in how they respond to thyroid hormones and similar compounds - perhaps there are similar hidden differences in cell response in some organs, but not as pronounced.


Front. Endocrinol., 04 December 2018 |

Bioactivity of Thyroid Hormone Analogs at Cancer Cells

Paul J. Davis, Heng-Yuan Tang, Aleck Hercbergs, Hung-Yun Lin, Kelly A. Keating and Shaker A. Mousa

18 Replies

Thank you Diogenes. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos in 2014 after 5 years of symptoms. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

I am a 63 year old male without any family history of prostate cancer or hypothyroidism.

Could my Hasimoto’s have caused or contributed to my prostate cancer? How should I proceed now - are there lifestyle changes I could make?

I have just had the small tumour removed or ablated by high frequency intense ultrasound. I am hoping I am free of the cancer but will watch and wait to see.

It’s as commentators on this site say - you don’t just get hypothyroidism but it comes with other things. I also suffer from low function of my pituitary gland.

All comments welcomed.

diogenes profile image
diogenes in reply to Adam10

I wouldn't think Hashimoto's would link to prostate cancer, because Hashimoto's is autoimmune (antibody attack on cells) and prostate cancer is an irrevocable alteration of cell action at the genetic level.

Marz profile image
Marz in reply to diogenes

Could low T3 contribute ? I read recently about low thyroid levels being involved with bladder cancer. Slow healing to the bladder lining after bladder infections - leading to cancer. Inflamed prostates need support I am sure. My hubby's PSA lowered once he was taking thyroid hormones having been diagnosed with Hashimotos at 73 almost seven years ago. Also taking vits and minerals. Recent prostate surgery did not reveal any cancer.

Adam10 - do hope you make a good recovery ..

Adam10 profile image
Adam10 in reply to Marz

Thank you Diogenes and Marz. Yes my recovery is going well. Looking now to strengthen my health regime. The prostate cancer has been a distraction from looking after my Hashimotos. My prostate cancer was zapped by HIFU. An MRI showed preliminary results that the cancer has been ‘ablated’. I will monitor by quarterly PSA blood tests. So I’m back focusing on treating my Hashimotos.

Adam10 profile image
Adam10 in reply to diogenes

Thank you Diogenes. That is a relief as it appears I will not be able to rid myself of my Hashimotos, although some online doctors/authors suggest one can ‘cure’ oneself of Hashimotos - has it ever been done?

But I can (I hope) adopt a health regime to reduce the risk or hopefully avoid future prostate cancer.

I'm not sure that anyone has ever actually cured themselves of Hashis, regardless of articles on the internet, If you were diagnosed really early when TSH was under 3 and immediately started gluten free, keto diet, selenium supplements etc, you might be able to avoid future attacks, but I think you'd need to continue for the rest of your life. I'm not sure if you can completely reverse autoimmune diseases. Possibly you can. But it can look as though you have "cured" autoimmune thyroid disease as it goes through stages of being slightly hyper, normal and hypo, and so on. So it could be in a "good" stage for quite a while.

Yes I can’t see how the immune cells that have gone wrong and are attacking self could be rectified to their former state of not doing so. I presume it is like a cascade once it starts there is no stopping it only slowing it down a bit maybe. Perhaps there will

be a way to get them to unlearn the self attack in the future. I wonder if anyone is working on it now.

I am having trouble understanding this but:

Do you think that taking T3 so that TSH is suppressed and the body makes little T4 would be helpful in the treatment of cancer?

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to HughH

Getting a suppressed TSH is/was used in those relatives of mine who have had thyroid cancer (Levothyroxine) to reduce the chances of recurrence. Not sure if it is T3 related but seems logical that it would be.

diogenes profile image
diogenes in reply to TSH110

This is related to TSH which was once supposed to be able to stimulate any remaining cancer cells, so it had to be suppressed.

Diogenes, You say "once supposed to... ". Are you saying this is no longer believed to be the case?

My thyroid cancer consultant still believes it, but that's no surprise. It's very convenient for thyroid cancer patients, if nothing else, as we probably want suppressed TSHs to feel well on hormone replacement.

Yes, this idea is certainly now dropped in say Germany.

Thank you, that's useful to know.

There has been a negative result though. When TSH was suppressed there was a greater frequency of reported overdosing in treated athyreotic patients. Now with reduced dosing, there is instead an increased reporting of underdosing symptoms. This of course is the result of applying the shoehorn of therapy by numbers rather than by symptoms.

Yes, in strategic terms for patients, it's probably better to have doctors shooting for a suppressed TSH. Or at the very least have them willing to tolerate it.

HughH profile image
HughH in reply to diogenes

Does the article imply that T4 stimulates growth of cancer cells? If so suppressing T4 could be helpful.

diogenes profile image
diogenes in reply to HughH

No, its the TSH that was thought to directly stimulate even a few cancer cells to regrow.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to diogenes

Has this been disproven? Is there research that is sound? Or is it another of those mumbo jumbo uk endocrinogy prejudices based on nebulous things in the ether that only professionals can sense? I guess the Germans might be more scientific in their approach. I should think any human being with hypothyroidism feels better with a suppressed TSH thyroid cancer or no thyroid cancer and feeling better ought to give better health all round

You may also like...