No Connection Found Between Testosterone Therapy and Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer
TRT is a popular approach to treating low levels of testosterone, an important hormone for men. When a man has low testosterone, he may feel tired, weak, and depressed. He may lose interest in sex or develop erection problems.
Sometimes, men have low testosterone because of medical conditions that interfere with its production. But men can also develop low testosterone as a result of normal aging.
That’s because men’s testosterone levels naturally decline as they get older. The goal of testosterone therapy, which can be administered through gels, patches, and injections, is to bring a man’s testosterone levels back to a normal range.
Some experts have been concerned about TRT and prostate cancer risk, as testosterone can fuel the growth of prostate cancer cells.
To learn more, a group of American and Canadian researchers examined data from two Swedish databases related to prostate cancer and prescriptions, including testosterone.
They identified 38,570 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed between 2009 and 2012. They also looked at data from 192,838 men without prostate cancer.
Prescriptions for TRT were filled by 284 men with prostate cancer before their cancer diagnosis. TRT prescriptions were filled by 1,378 men who did not have prostate cancer.
The scientists found no connection between TRT and prostate cancer risk. They did discover that “favorable risk” prostate cancer (disease that is not aggressive and does not necessarily need immediate treatment) was more common among men who had had TRT. But these men may have gone to the doctor more often and had early biopsies, which could have increased the odds of finding cancer earlier.
Results related to aggressive prostate cancer were different, however. Men who had taken testosterone for a year or longer had their risk of aggressive disease cut in half. The researchers did not expect this finding and noted that more study is needed.
“Overall, our study suggests that what is best for men’s health is to keep testosterone levels balanced and within a normal range,” said lead investigator Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc of the NYU Langone Medical Center in a press release.
The findings were presented in May at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting in San Diego, California,
Loeb, Stacy, MD, MSc, et al.
“Testosterone Therapy and Prostate Cancer Risk”
(Abstract presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association, May 9, 2016, San Diego, California)
NYU Langone Medical Center
“Testosterone Therapy Does Not Raise Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer, Study Suggests”
(Press release. May 9, 2016)