Jan. 15, 2004 -- One of doctors' greatest fears about testosterone therapy is that it may cause prostate cancer. But a new study shows that it won't increase a man's risk of prostate cancer -- even if he has precancerous prostate cells.
The study sheds light on the risks of testosterone therapy, which is used in men with low testosterone levels to help restore a man's sexual function, mood, memory, even aspects of his physique -- muscle mass, strength, body fat, bone density.
However, doctors have been concerned that testosterone therapy could trigger growth of prostate cancer -- especially if a man already has precancerous cells in his prostate, writes researcher Ernani Rhoden, urologist with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.
Rhoden's paper appears in the December 2003 Journal of Urology.
His study involved 20 men who had precancerous cells in the prostate and 55 men who had no signs of these cells.
After one year of testosterone therapy, Rhoden's researchers looked at prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels for all the men. Rising PSA levels are an indication that a man may have prostate cancer.
The PSAs were very similar for both groups -- both before and after testosterone therapy, he reports.
These results indicate that testosterone therapy does not lead to prostate cancer and that men with a history of precancerous prostate cells may be able to safely take testosterone therapy, Rhoden writes.
SOURCE: Rhoden, E. Journal of Urology, January 2004; vol 170: pp 2348-2351.