Can Therapy for Prostate Cancer Increase Risk of Alzheimers

Logos 005A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology concluded  that men taking androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s later in life than those who did not use the therapy based on the analysis of medical records. In addition, men with the longest duration of using ADT were even more likely to suffer Alzheimer’s. Researchers said this does not prove that ADT increases the risk of Alzheimer’s but point to that possibility and are consistent to other evidence that low levels of testosterone may weaken the brain of aging individuals resistance to Alzheimer’s.  The researchers said “We wanted to contribute to the discussion regarding the relative risk and benefits of ADT. and no one had yet looked at the association between ADT and alzheimer’s disease.” “Based on the results of our study, an increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease is a potential adverse effect of ADT, but further research is needed befre considering changes to clinical practice.”

For this study, the researchers evaluated large sets of medical records from two hospitals on the east and west coasts.  In total, there were about 5 million patients. of whom 16,888 had a diagnoses of prostate cancer and met the other criteria of the study. Of the 16,888 prostate cancer patients about 2,400 had received ADT and had the necessary follow up records. This group was compared with a control group of prostate cancer patients who did not receive ADT that were matched by age and other factors.

Using two different statistical analysis methods, the researchers  showed that the ADT group , xompared to the control group, had significantly more Alzheimer’s diagnoses in later years and showed that the ADT group were about 88 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s during the follow up period. Further studies are planned  to determine whether ADT does increase Alzheimer’s risk using data from large cancer registries.

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