Nguyen's team performed a meta-analysis, which attempts to uncover trends from a group of studies to determine a pattern that the original trials may not have actually been designed to find.
Over a range of seven to 13 years of follow-up, 255 of the 2,200 men receiving hormone therapy died from a cardiovascular condition, compared with 252 of the 1,941 men not on hormone therapy, the researchers found. For men on hormone therapy that's an overall incidence of 11 percent, compared with 11.2 percent for men not on hormone therapy, the study authors noted.
For men who took hormones for six months, the overall incidence of cardiovascular death was 10.5 percent, compared with 10.3 percent for men not on hormone therapy. For those who took hormones for three years or more, the incidence of cardiovascular death was 11.5 percent, the same as for men not receiving hormone therapy, the investigators found.
Age seemed to play no role in these findings, Nguyen's group said.
Among men receiving hormone therapy, 443 died from prostate cancer as did 522 of the men not receiving hormone therapy.
Of the more than 1,100 deaths of men receiving hormone therapy and more than 1,200 deaths of men not receiving hormone therapy, those on hormone therapy had a 14 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, the researchers found.
"The use of hormone therapy and radiation is of benefit for patients," said Dr. William Kelly, a professor of medical oncology and urology at Thomas Jefferson University's Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia and co-author of an accompanying journal editorial.
In this study, the benefits of hormone therapy outweighed the risks, Kelly said. However, he noted that these were selected patients in clinical trials, not patients in the general population, in which sicker patients might be at risk for cardiovascular events from
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