Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer Tied to Dementia

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is associated with an increased risk for dementia, a new study has found.

Androgen deprivation therapy, or A.D.T., is used to treat prostate cancer of varying degrees of severity. It can significantly reduce the risk for cancer progression and death.

The study, in JAMA Network Open, included 154,089 men whose average age was 74 and who had diagnoses of prostate cancer. Of these, 62,330 received A.D.T. and the rest did not.

In an average follow-up of eight years, the scientists found that compared with men who had no hormone therapy, one to four doses of A.D.T. was associated with a 19 percent increased risk for both Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and the risk increased with the number of doses. At five to eight doses the increased risk was 28 percent for Alzheimer’s and 24 percent for other dementias.

The study adjusted for socioeconomic status, age, race, severity of prostate cancer and other factors.

The lead author, Ravishankar Jayadevappa, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, said that for advanced cancer, A.D.T. can be a lifesaving treatment and should not be avoided because of any increased risk for dementia. But, he said, “Patients with localized cancer should be looking at the risks of dementia, and possibly avoiding A.D.T.”

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