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Hormone therapy for prostate cancer does not appear to increase cardiac deaths
Date:12/10/2008

rent study found that men with localized prostate cancer who received GnRH agonist therapy had a greater risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease than patients not receiving hormonal treatment. To specifically investigate the relationship between GnRH agonist therapy and death from cardiovascular disease, the current study analyzed data from a 1987-92 clinical trial in which almost 1,000 patients were treated for locally advanced prostate cancer with either the GnRH agonist goserelin plus radiation therapy or radiation therapy alone.

During the decade following completion of the clinical trial, more than half the participants died from various causes. Of the 574 deaths, 117 were from cardiovascular disease, but whether or not patients had received the GnRH agonist apparently had no effect on the risk of cardiovascular death. Instead, it was established cardiac risk factors including heart disease or diabetes that existed prior to GnRH agonist treatment that appeared to increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

"The absence of an increase in cardiovascular mortality does not exclude the possibility that GnRH agonists increase non-cancer deaths through other mechanisms," Efstathiou stresses. "In addition to the increased risk for diabetes identified in the 2006 study, we know they can raise the risk of fractures and anemia both of which can reduce survival and can have adverse effects on weight gain, cholesterol levels, mood and sexual function.

"While our study supports the continued use of GnRH agonists in situations where the benefit for cancer control has been established typically the treatment of advanced or more aggressive prostate cancer clinicians should keep in mind the risks of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and help their patients adopt strategies to reduce those risks," he adds. "Further studies are needed to evaluate potential risks for men with earlier stage prostate cancer, for
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Contact: Katie Marquedant
kmarquedant@partners.org
617-726-0337
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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