Hormonal Prostate Cancer Treatment May Double the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology comprising a large-scale analysis of medical records revealed that men undergoing androgen deprivation (hormonal) therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer treatment may be at almost twice the risk of eventually developing Alzheimer’s disease, and that the increased likelihood of the disease is proportional to ADT duration.  The researchers emphasized that their findings do not prove that ADT increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease but clearly point to that possibility.  It is thought that low levels of testosterone produced by androgen deprivation (hormonal) therapy may diminish the body’s protective effect on brain cells.  There may also be evidence suggesting that the production of amyloid beta, a protein involved in Alzheimer’s pathogenesis, increases as testosterone levels diminish. The researchers are not suggesting that today’s clinical practice of treating prostate cancer with hormonal therapy be changed.  However, it adds another potential undesirable side effect to those already associated with ADT such as osteoporosis, cardiac effects, loss of muscle mass and metabolic syndrome.  See the entire article as published in the December 14th issue of Prostate Cancer News Weekly Digest.

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