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

year worldwide, making it the second most common cancer among men worldwide, after lung cancer. Hormone therapy is a mainstay of treatment when the cancer is locally advanced and when it has spread to more distant parts of the body, but is increasingly being used in earlier stages of the disease. It involves either removing the testicles to eliminate the main source of testosterone production, injections of gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists to dramatically reduce the production of testosterone from the testicles or anti-androgen pills, which do not reduce the amount of testosterone produced but block it from attaching the prostate cells. Doctors sometimes use a combination of those approaches.

In the study, researchers analysed the link in 30,642 Swedish men with locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer who had received hormone therapy as primary treatment for their disease between 1997 and 2006. The men were followed for an average of three years. The researchers calculated the risk of developing ischaemic heart disease, heart attacks, arrhythmia and heart failure requiring hospitalisation as well as the risk of dying from these heart diseases by comparing the rates among the cancer patients with what's normal in the general Swedish population. Most patients got one of the three hormone treatment choices, but 38% got a combination of the two types of drugs.

"We found that prostate cancer patients treated with hormone therapy had an elevated risk of developing all of the individual types of heart problems and that they were more likely than normal to die from those causes," Ms Van Hemelrijck said, adding that the problems started happening within a few months of initiating treatment.

Overall, prostate cancer patients treated with hormone therapy had a 24% increased risk of a non-fatal heart attack, a 19% increased risk of arrhythmia, a 31% increased risk of ischaemic heart disease and a 26% increased risk of heart failure. T
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Contact: Emma Ross
rosswrite@mac.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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