Objective: To assess the effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2; often used to treat haemorrhagic cystitis, a known side-effect after radiation therapy for prostate cancer and with the potential to induce tumour angiogenesis and stimulate latent recurrence) on indolent in vivo prostate cancer in a murine model.
Materials and methods: Human prostate LNCaP cells were injected into 60 severe combined-immunodeficient mice; of these 24 (40%) did not develop palpable tumours after 6 weeks. They were randomized to undergo 20 sessions of either HBO2 or normobaric air in standardized conditions, and observed for another 4 weeks before the histological assessment of any palpable tumours that developed. Analysis of developed LNCaP tumours included tumour volume, microvessel density, MIB-1, p53, p27 and racemase staining intensity.
Results: HBO2 was associated with less prostate tumour progression than normobaric air (P = 0.26). During HBO2 therapy, 10 mice remained free of palpable tumours, compared with seven controls (P = 0.30). On evaluation during the 4 weeks after therapy, six mice treated with HBO2 remained free of palpable tumours, vs eight of the controls (P = 0.17). There was tumour invasion and necrosis in a two of six and four of the HBO2 group during and after therapy, respectively, vs five and seven of the controls. Tumour microvessel density, proliferative index, differentiation and apoptosis markers were similar in both groups.
Conclusions: HBO2 does not accelerate the growth of indolent prostate cancer in a murine model, suggesting that it does not increase the risk of residual prostate cancer reactivation when it is used to manage radiation-induced haemorrhagic cystitis in patients treated by pelvic radiotherapy for prostate cancer.