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New study reassures on heart risks of prostate cancer treatment
Date:12/6/2011

BOSTONHormone-blocking therapy for prostate cancer doesn't raise the risk of fatal heart attacks as some recent studies had suggested according to a new report from Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center.

For men with high-risk prostate tumors, a combination of local treatment and drugs that block male hormones that feed prostate tumors can significantly lengthen survival. In the past few years, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and some professional organizations have raised a caution flag about this treatment regimen, citing a few studies that linked androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to a higher risk of heart attacks.

But those fears appear unwarranted at least for men without a history of heart disease according the Dana-Farber/Brigham study that is being published in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Led by Paul Nguyen, MD, and Toni Choueiri, MD, the scientists performed a meta-analysis of randomized studies involving 4,141 prostate cancer patients. The analysis found no difference in the rate of cardiovascular deaths in men receiving ADT compared with those who didn't. The study couldn't rule out that ADT might elevate the risk of fatal heart attacks in patients with a history of heart disease; the investigators said they plan to look more closely at that population.

"This message should be reassuring for the vast majority of patients considering androgen deprivation therapy," said Nguyen, a radiation oncologist at Dana-Farber/Brigham. "If you need ADT for your prostate cancer, go ahead and have it. Hormones can save lives."

ADT is frequently used in combination with radiation therapy to treat men whose tumors have unfavorable characteristics or have spread beyond the gland. Side effects from this treatment approach can include weight gain, insulin resistance and imbalances in blood lipids like cholesterol all of which are risk factors for cardiov
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Contact: Anne Doerr
Anne_Doerr@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-4090
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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