A common prostate cancer treatment has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The research was led by Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. The research reviewed electronic medical records of prostate cancer patients, and researchers found the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was nearly doubled in those who were treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).
Testosterone has been shown to promote the growth of prostate tumors and so ADT has been used to reduce testosterone and other androgens in prostate cancer patients. In the U.S. nearly half a million men currently receive ADT for prostate cancer.
The researchers identified nearly 18,000 prostate patients from two institutions; 16,888 had non-metastatic prostate cancer and 2,397 had been treated with ADT.
Those who received ADT had 1.88 times increased risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease during the follow-up period in comparison to those patients who did not undergo ADT. Men who were treated with ADT longer than 12 months had a 2.12 increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease – more than double the risk compared to those who did not receive ADT.
Senior author Nigam Shah, Ph.D., said, “The association found in this study should be evaluated in the context of the overall treatment choices available to any specific patient. This study demonstrates the value of using existing EMR data to quantify the trade-offs that various treatments offer.”
Patients concerned with ADT should discuss treatment options with their doctors before stopping treatment.