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Prostate cancer patients on hormone therapy at increased risk for various heart diseases
Date:9/22/2009

Berlin, Germany: New research has found that hormone therapy used to treat men with advanced prostate cancer is associated with an increased chance of developing various heart problems. Some choices of therapy appear, however, to be less risky than others.

Researchers told Europe's biggest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin today (Tuesday 22 September) that the findings of their study, the largest and most comprehensive to date on the issue, indicate that doctors need to start considering heart-related side effects when they prescribe endocrine therapy for prostate cancer and might want to refer patients to a cardiologist before starting treatment.

A few smaller studies have indicated that some types of hormone therapy increase the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks in prostate cancer patients, but others have found no increased risk. This is the first large study to investigate how the broader range of hormone therapies affect a wider range of heart problems and provides for the first time a detailed picture of the impact of each sort of hormone therapy on individual types of heart trouble.

"If we have observed a causative effect, then for all hormone therapies put together, we estimate that compared with what's normal in the general population, about 10 extra ischaemic heart disease events a year will appear for every 1,000 prostate cancer patients treated with such drugs," said the study's leader, Ms Mieke Van Hemelrijck, a cancer epidemiologist at King's College in London. "However, not all types of therapy were associated with the risk of heart problems to the same degree. We found that drugs which block testosterone from binding to the prostate cells were associated with the least heart risk, while those that reduce the production of testosterone were associated with a higher risk. This may have implications for treatment choice."

Prostate cancer is diagnosed in more than 670,000 men each
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Contact: Emma Ross
rosswrite@mac.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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