Androgen Deprivation Therapy Increases Cardiovascular Risks

Androgen Deprivation Therapy Increases Cardiovascular Risks

According to an early online publication of Cancer, androgen deprivation therapy increases cardiovascular risks and may impact survival in men with low-risk prostate cancer.

The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. It produces some of the fluid that transports sperm during ejaculation. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in men. The outlook for men diagnosed with prostate cancer is good: overall survival rates for all stages of prostate cancer have improved dramatically over the past 20 years.

Men with low-risk prostate cancer (cancer that is not considered aggressive) have particularly favorable outcomes. Because they often achieve long-term survival, men with this disease will often weigh side effects of therapy against effectiveness of therapy.

Current treatment options for prostate cancer include watchful waiting, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy. Hormonal therapy, or androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), is designed to block testosterone from stimulating the growth of hormone-dependent types of prostate cancer.

Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles and Duke University recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate men with prostate cancer who received treatment with ADT. This study included nearly 23,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1992 and 1996.

  • The risk of cardiovascular complications was increased by 20% among men treated with ADT.
  • Increased rates of cardiovascular complications began to occur after 12 months of ADT.
  • Hispanic men were found to have lower rates of cardiovascular risks than White or African-American men.

The researchers concluded that treatment with ADT appears to increase the risk of cardiovascular complications. The authors state that ADT should not be used in men without proven benefit from ADT; however, each patient may wish to discuss their individual risks and benefits of all treatment options with their physician.

Reference: Saigal CS, Gore JL, Krupski TL, et al. Androgen deprivation therapy increases cardiovascular morbidity in men with prostate cancer. Cancer [early online publication]. July 26, 2007.

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