(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Prostate cancer patients who take drugs to
decrease their testosterone levels may be increasing their risk of
developing bone- and heart-related side effects, but those risks are still
relatively low, according to a new study.
Doctors say androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is an important and effective
treatment option for many men with prostate cancer, but it can cause a
variety of side effects, including skeletal and cardiovascular
complications, sexual dysfunction, periodontal disease and mood disorders.
Texas researchers analyzed previous studies on the treatment's side effects
to assess the risks for men. They discovered that although men treated with
ADT had an increased risk of bone fractures and heart-related death, the
absolute risk for both was still low.
For bone fractures, there was a 23 percent increased risk compared to
prostate cancer patients who did not undergo the treatment, and the absolute
risk of fracture among ADT-exposed men was still only 7.2 per 100 person
years, researchers said.
For heart-related death, researchers found the increased risk among the ADT
men was 17 percent higher compared to other prostate cancer patients, but
that only translated to an additional one-to-two deaths per 1,000 men who
Since some patients benefit immensely from this treatment over other
options, the researchers said physicians should consider each patient's
overall health and prostate cancer status when weighing treatment options.
SOURCE: CANCER, published online on April 27, 2009