Androgen deprivation therapy is a type of hormone therapy, usually given to men with advanced or difficult to treat cancers. It blocks the production of another male sex hormone, testosterone, which drives tumor growth.
It has now been found that this therapy could increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
"Previous studies have shown androgen deprivation therapy to be associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This study investigated whether these changes induced by androgen deprivation therapy might contribute to death from cardiovascular disease," lead author Dr. Henry K. Tsai, from the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program in Boston, told a news agency.
As reported in the October 17th issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Tsai's team assessed the risks of androgen deprivation therapy in 3,262 men who underwent radical prostatectomy and 1,630 treated with radiotherapy or other localized treatment, he said. The average follow-up period was 3.8 years.
Overall, 1,015 patients used androgen deprivation therapy for an average of 4.1 months, the report indicates. On further analysis, the researchers found that androgen deprivation therapy increased the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 2.6-fold.
"Treatment with androgen deprivation therapy can be beneficial in patients with unfavorable prostate cancer. However, clinicians should carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits of androgen deprivation therapy, and consider a cardiovascular evaluation for their patients prior to initiating androgen deprivation therapy," Tsai advised.
Additional studies need to be done to confirm the associations among androgen deprivation therapy, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. "Methods of reducing the potentially negative side effects of androgen deprivation therapy should be explored," he added.