Charles Brenton Huggins

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Charles Brenton Huggins
Charles Brenton Huggins nobel.jpg
Charles Brenton Huggins
Born(1901-09-22)September 22, 1901
DiedJanuary 12, 1997(1997-01-12) (aged 95)
CitizenshipCanadian / American
Alma materAcadia University
Harvard University
Known forprostate cancer
AwardsNobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (1966)
Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of the University of Edinburgh (1956)
Gairdner Foundation International Award (1966)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Michigan, University of Chicago

Charles Brenton Huggins (September 22, 1901 – January 12, 1997) was a Canadian-American physician, physiologist and cancer researcher at the University of Chicago specializing in prostate cancer.[1] He was awarded the 1966 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for discovering in 1941 that hormones could be used to control the spread of some cancers.[2] This was the first discovery that showed that cancer could be controlled by chemicals.

Early life and education[edit]

Huggins was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He graduated from Acadia University with a BA degree in 1920. He went on to study medicine at Harvard Medical School and received his MD degree in 1924. He served his internship and residency in general surgery with Frederick A. Coller at the University of Michigan.[3]


Huggins established a method to measure the effect hormone changes have on prostatic function. He found out that castration or estrogen administration led to glandular atrophy, which could be reversed by re-administration of androgen. In 1941 the beneficial effect of androgen ablation on metastatic prostate cancer was realised when Huggins and Clarence Hodges treated patients by either castration or estrogen therapy. They monitored the prostate size and therapeutic efficacy by measuring serum prostatic acid phosphatase levels and concluded that androgenic activity in the body influences prostate cancer, at least with respect to serum phosphatase. Huggins was the first to use a systemic approach to treat prostate cancer.

In 1958, Huggins received the Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of the University of Edinburgh. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on October 13, 1966.[4]

Huggins died 1997 in Chicago, Illinois at the age of 95 years. His wife died in 1983.


  1. ^ Altman, Lawrence K. (January 15, 1997), "C. B. Huggins Dies at 95; Won Nobel for Cancer Work", The New York Times, retrieved October 13, 2017
  2. ^ Huggins C, Hodges CV (2002). "Studies on prostatic cancer. I. The effect of castration, of estrogen and of androgen injection on serum phosphatases in metastatic carcinoma of the prostate. 1941". The Journal of Urology. 167 (2): 948–951. doi:10.1097/00005392-200207000-00004. PMID 11905923.
  3. ^ "Charles B. Huggins, MD, 1901–1997". University of Chicago Medicine 1997 Press Releases. University of Chicago. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  4. ^ Denmeade, SR; Isaacs, JT (May 2002). "A history of prostate cancer treatment". Nature Reviews. Cancer. 2 (5): 389–96. doi:10.1038/nrc801. PMC 4124639. PMID 12044015.


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  • "Classics in oncology. Charles Brenton Huggins". CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 22 (4): 230–1. 1972. doi:10.3322/canjclin.22.4.230. PMID 4625048. S2CID 221547609.
  • Kenéz, J (October 1971). "[Ch. B. Huggins at the age of 70]". Orvosi Hetilap. 112 (42): 2535–7. PMID 4943846.
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  • Fukunishi, R (October 1967). "[Pioneer of cancer research: Dr. Charles B. Huggins]". Nippon Rinsho. 25 (8): 1709–12. PMID 4868962.
  • Schmähl, D (December 1966). "[Charles Brenton Huggins]". Dtsch. Med. Wochenschr. 91 (51): 2308–9. PMID 5333371.
  • Frenkel, M (November 1966). "[Charles Brenton Huggins, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine, 1966]". Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde. 110 (45): 1994–5. PMID 5342106.
  • Luft, R (November 1966). "[Nobel prize in physiology and medicine 1966. Charles Brenton Huggins]". Nordisk Medicin. 76 (44): 1269–71. PMID 5337055.
  • Franksson, C (October 1966). "[Nobel Prize of the year. II. Charles B. Huggins]". Lakartidningen. 63 (43): 4102–4. PMID 5343069.
  • TALALAY, P (June 1965). "The Scientific Contributions Of Charles Brenton Huggins". JAMA. 192 (13): 1137–40. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080260025007. PMID 14301033.

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