Common Treatment for Prostate Cancer Could Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s
Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is a common method of treatment for prostate cancer. The therapy involves suppressing androgens, hormones that stimulate prostate cell growth and in turn stimulate prostate cancer cell growth. When the androgens are suppressed, this also lowers the levels of testosterone, which has been known to weaken resistance to Alzheimer’s in aging brains.
A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania is shedding light on the direct connection between ADT and Alzheimer’s. The study looked at two large collections of medical records, 1.8 million records from the Stanford health system and 3.7 million from Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. From these collections, the researchers chose 18,000 men with prostate cancer, 2,397 of which underwent ADT.
The men who underwent ADT were 88 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease later on in life than those who did not have the therapy. When looking further at the ADT patients and the development of Alzheimer’s, the men who underwent ADT for longer periods expressed a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. The men who had ADT for the longest in the group had double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to the non-ADT patients.
Further studies are being considered to determine the exact levels of risk that ADT administration causes in regards to developing Alzheimer’s disease. The research team indicated that while this study does show significant risk of cognitive decline after ADT, it should be recognized that most prostate cancer patients are already in an age group with a high prevalence of the disease.
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