Hormone therapy may lead to cognitive effects in prostate Ca patients

August 14, 2008

A recent review of the literature has found that hormone deprivation therapy may have subtle adverse effects on cognition in patients receiving the treatment for prostate cancer, researchers will report in an upcoming issue of Cancer.

A recent review of the literature has found that hormone deprivation therapy may have subtle adverse effects on cognition in patients receiving the treatment for prostate cancer, researchers will report in an upcoming issue of Cancer.

The study’s authors suggest that clinicians and patients should be aware of these potential effects and watch closely for their appearance.

After performing a systematic literature search of studies in animals and humans, researchers led by Christian Nelson, PhD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, found that testosterone and its derivatives may impact cognition via several mechanisms in the brain. For example, testosterone can modulate neurotransmitters and stimulate the connections between neurons. Also, studies that have examined the impact of androgen deprivation therapy in prostate cancer patients indicate that between 47% and 69% of men being treated show declines in at least one cognitive area, most commonly in processes dependent on spatial ability and in high-order capacities such as the ability to multi-task.

Larger, more thorough studies that include brain imaging techniques are needed to better understand the nature and extent of the cognitive effects of androgen depletion, according to the researchers. In addition, researchers are exploring the effectiveness of using androgen depletion therapy in men with rising levels of PSA.

“As the use of androgen depletion therapy increases, clinicians should become aware of this relationship [with cognitive decline], and inform and monitor patients for this possible side effect of treatment,” the authors concluded.