Heart Risk From Prostate Therapy
Androgen Deprivation for Prostate Cancer Boosts Heart Deaths
WebMD News Archive
Androgen Deprivation Risk, Androgen Deprivation Benefit continued...
The study showed no significant risk for men who received androgen
deprivation therapy along with other prostate cancer treatments. However, Tsai
considers this to be a statistical fluke due to the relatively small number of
study patients given treatments other than surgery.
That's also the opinion of Jerome Seidenfeld, PhD, associate director of the
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's technology evaluation center in
Chicago. Seidenfeld's editorial accompanies Tsai and colleagues' report in the
Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Seidenfeld warns that while the data from Tsai and colleagues sounds an
alarm, there's still too little data to understand the true heart risk from
androgen deprivation therapy.
"There is evidence in this paper that those using androgen deprivation
therapies are different in a number of ways from patients not using it -- so we
don't know if their underlying cardiovascular risk is the same," Seidenfeld
But Seidenfeld and Tsai agree that doctors should evaluate a patient's risk
of heart disease before recommending androgen deprivation therapy -- and that
patients considering these treatments should be made aware of this possible
Shehzad Basaria, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at
Johns Hopkins University, says his own studies show that every form of androgen
deprivation therapy, including orchiectomy, increases a man's risk factors for
Basaria says there's a clear benefit to androgen deprivation therapy for men
with widely metastatic prostate cancer. And he notes that androgen deprivation
therapy also prolongs life when used along with radiation therapy.
The questions arise, Basaria says, for men who had been in remission after
treatment for prostate cancer, but who see their PSA levels rising -- a sign
that prostate cancer may be coming back.
"Those may be the guys with whom a lot of discussion needs to be held
with the oncologist, to discuss the advantages of androgen deprivation therapy
in light of these risks," he says.