Testosterone Therapy May Benefit Prostate Cancer Treatment
Greg Stacy

Apr 25, 2011, 14:39

Testosterone therapy is now being reevaluated as a treatment option for men with untreated and low-risk prostate cancer.

The news arrives following a small study published in this month's edition of The Journal of Urology.

"Generations of medical students and residents were taught that providing testosterone to a man with prostate cancer was like pouring gasoline on a fire," said researcher Dr. Abraham Morgentaler at Men's Health Boston, according to a press release from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

"For many decades it had been believed that a history of prostate cancer, even if treated and cured, was an absolute contraindication to testosterone therapy, due to the belief that testosterone activated prostate cancer growth, and could potentially cause dormant cancer cells to grow rapidly."

The study looked at 13 men who had been diagnosed with low to moderately aggressive prostate cancer based on the Gleason score. Their prostate cancer had not been treated previously, and during the study they were given testosterone therapy for between one and eight years.

During the course of their testosterone therapy, the size of their prostates and their average prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels did not change. The researchers found that there was no progression of the mens' prostate cancer in the short to medium term. This is consistent with the saturation model, which says that prostate cancer thrives when testosterone levels are low.

"Clearly, the traditional belief that higher testosterone necessarily leads to rapid prostate cancer growth is incorrect," Morgentaler said.

It has long been known that testosterone therapy can have various beneficial effects, including improvement in fatigue, libido, and sexual function. It may also improve mood, blood sugar control, muscle mass, bone density, and possibly even longevity.

"An increasing number of newly diagnosed men with prostate cancer opting for active surveillance, and with many of them also desiring treatment for their signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency, the results suggest a reevaluation of the long standing prohibition against offering testosterone therapy to men with prostate cancer," Morgentaler said.

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