Androgen deprivation temporarily reduces men's cognitive skills

March 18, 2005

Men receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer might notice a reduction in verbal fluency, visual recognition, and visual memory, according to a small trial published in the Feb. 28 online edition of Cancer.

Men receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer might notice a reduction in verbal fluency, visual recognition, and visual memory, according to a small trial published in the Feb. 28 online edition of Cancer.

Finnish researchers performed cognitive tests of prostate cancer patients on androgen deprivation therapy at baseline and at 6 and 12 months. Testosterone and estradiol changes were also measured.

The degree of cognitive dysfunction appears to be related to the decline in serum estradiol brought on by hormonal treatment. At 6 months, visual memory of figures (r=-.52, p=.022) and recognition speed of numbers (r=-.52, p=.030) were impaired and associated with a decline in estradiol. At 12 months, improvement in verbal fluency (r=-.52, p=.019) was impaired and also associated with a decline in estradiol.

"The results suggest selective associations among testosterone decline, estradiol, and cognitive performance," wrote the authors, led by Eeva Salminen, MD, of Turku University Hospital.