Androgen Deprivation Therapy Raises Heart-Related Death Risk

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But the overall risk of cardiac death from androgen deprivation for prostate cancer patients is small.
But the overall risk of cardiac death from androgen deprivation for prostate cancer patients is small.

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) may increase heart-related mortality in men with prostate cancer who also have certain heart conditions, according to research published in BJU International.

For the study, David Ziehr, a medical student at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues collected data on 5,077 men treated for prostate cancer between 1997 and 2006. Among these men, 30 percent were treated with hormone therapy.

Over an average follow-up of nearly five years, Ziehr's team found that men treated with hormone therapy who had heart failure or who had a previous heart attack were more likely to die from a heart-related cause than similar men not given ADT (7 versus 2 percent). The researchers, however, did not find any significant link between ADT and heart-related deaths among men who didn't have heart disease or in men with diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia.

RELATED: Primary Androgen-Deprivation Therapy (ADT) for Localized Prostate Cancer: Potential for Harm May Outweigh Benefit in Low-Risk Disease

"ADT is a mainstay of prostate cancer therapy, but may not be the best option for all men," Ziehr told HealthDay. "The greatest cause of death among men with prostate cancer is heart disease, and patients and doctors must ensure that treatments and lifestyle choices harmonize to improve men's overall health," he said.

However, there is evidence that many men with prostate cancer are helped by hormone therapy. "When prescribing ADT for prostate cancer, physicians should take their patients' heart health into consideration." Ziehr said.


  1. Ziehr, David R., et al. "Association of androgen-deprivation therapy with excess cardiac-specific mortality in men with prostate cancer." BJUI International. DOI: 10.1111/bju.12905. October 29, 2014.

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