Higher Risk for Heart Disease and Diabetes Associated with Androgen Deprivation Therapy
Men of all ages treated for prostate cancer with androgen deprivation therapy, specifically with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH), have an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Nancy L. Keating, MD, MPH, of the division of General Internal Medicine in the department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted an observational study of men of all ages who were diagnosed with local or regional prostate. They found that treatment with GnRH agonists was associated with statistically significant increased risks of incident diabetes (for GnRH agonist therapy, 159.4 events per 1,000 person-years versus 87.5 events for no androgen deprivation therapy).
“Additional research is needed to understand the effects of GnRH agonists for clinical settings where benefits have not yet been established, to identify populations of men at highest risk of complications associated with GnRH agonists, and to investigate strategies to prevent treatment-related morbidity,” the authors write. “Nevertheless, patients and physicians considering initiation of GnRH agonist treatment for local or regional prostate cancer should factor the potential increased risks of diabetes and cardiovascular disease as they make treatment decisions.”
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This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2010.