Can male pattern baldness help us to understand prostate cancer?

It is well understood that male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) and prostate cancer are both associated with levels of expression of androgenic androgens like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. However, there does not, in general, appear to be a direct correlation between male pattern baldness and risk for prostate cancer (or vice versa).

What is certainly true, as argued by Yassa et al., in a new paper initially published in Expert Reviews in Endocrinology and Metabolism and also accessible on the Medscape web site, is that a better understanding of the exact endocrinologic mechanisms of male pattern balding might help us to better understand the mechanistic drivers of prostate cancer (and to help us to distinguish between different types of prostate cancer).

Some regular readers may be particularly interested in the section of their paper in which Yassa et al. describe what we do and don’t know today about the underlying similarities and differences between the ways in which androgens may drive (or delay) the development of male pattern baldness and of prostate cancer. The authors are clear that this information does not provide us with any new diagnostic or therapeutic insights for either disorder at the present time. Their premise is only that a better understanding of the underlying biochemistry of androgenic alopecia might simultaneously enhance our ability to diagnose and treat prostate cancer.

3 Responses

  1. Well, I would like all readers of this forum who have had prostate cancer, answer one question: Do you have baldness? I for one, do have baldness at the top of my head. It would be interesting to see how many do have baldness.

  2. Dick … Unfortunately, if you read the article referred to, you will see that it ain’t anything like that simple!


  3. I have baldness, but it doesn’t show from the front.

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