A new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine has found that men who receive hormone therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer may be at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The report was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Kevin Nead of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, "In this study, we did find that men who received hormone therapy had about an 88 percent increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.”
The study showed that men with prostate cancer who were being treated with androgen deprivation therapy for more than a year had the greatest risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Androgen deprivation therapy is used for the treatment of prostate cancer because it lower testosterone production, a method that has been used for decades. Testosterone can promote the growth of prostate cancer. There are currently about 500,000 men who are being treated with androgen deprivation therapy for the treatment for prostate cancer in the United States.
In the study, researchers looked at more than 16,000 men with non-metastatic prostate cancer and analyzed the medical records. Among those men, about 2,400 of them had been treated with androgen deprivation therapy. They also looked at potential risk factors such as cardiovascular disease and age.
While the researchers concluded that there was a link between androgen deprivation therapy and Alzheimer’s disease, the research only showed an association. They were unable to determine a cause and effect relationship. In other words, the overall risk of men developing Alzheimer's disease as a result of receiving hormone therapy treatment for prostate cancer is still minimal.
It is also important to note that men with prostate cancer who are treated with androgen deprivation therapy often have advanced disease. Therefore, it is not clear whether the increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease is associated with the type of treatment or with how severe the prostate cancer is.
Patients newly diagnosed with prostate cancer can contact world renowned prostate cancer surgeon and urologic oncologist, Dr. David Samadi, for a free phone consultation and to learn more about PSA screening. Call 212.365.5000 to set up your consultation.