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Prostate Cancer Treatment Increases Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease

ssociate professor of medicine at HMS and a medical oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “For men who do require this treatment, physicians may want to talk with their patients about strategies, such as exercise and weight loss, which may help to lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.”

Given the number of men receiving GnRH agonists, often for many months or years, these increased risks can have important implications for the health of prostate cancer survivors, says Keating. Additional studies are needed to fully understand the biological mechanisms responsible for these increased risks.

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men, affecting more than 200,000 men in the United States every year. With prostate cancer’s favorable prognosis, however, decisions about treatments are particularly important because adverse effects and complications of treatments may impact overall health and quality of life more than prostate cancer itself.

The study assessed whether androgen deprivation therapy was associated with an increased incidence of diabetes, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, or sudden cardiac death by examining data from approximately 73,000 men age 66 or older who were diagnosed with local or regional prostate cancer.

This work was supported by the Prostate Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) of the National Cancer Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health.

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