ADT Therapy For Prostate Cancer May Increase Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) is a common prostate cancer therapy that reduces the amount of testosterone hormone in men. It has also been realized that it may increase the chances of developing Alzheimer's disease later on.

The results of a study published in the latest edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology had this conclusion. The University of Pennsylvania, which led the study, analyzed medical records of two large hospital systems in the United States. It was also discovered in the study that the longer the patients were on ADT treatment, the higher their chances of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in the later years.

Alzheimer's diseaseAccording to the researchers, their investigation was the first attempt to find a link between Alzheimer's disease and ADT treatment and it was also in concurrence with other medical evidence that low amounts of testosterone may reduce resistance to Alzheimer's disease in the brain of an older person. The researchers say that while their study findings do not conclusively prove that the treatment causes Alzheimer's disease, there is a clear possibility and therefore more research should be conducted to further investigate the connection between the two.

Statistics show that there are nearly half a million men undergoing ADT treatment, a common method for treating prostate tumors, at any given time in the United States. The production of androgen, a male hormone which usually helps in the stimulation of prostate cells growth including the cancerous cells, is suppressed by the treatment.

Dramatically reducing the levels of the male hormone can also have adverse side effects. Evidence shows that having low androgen levels, more specifically the level of testosterone, can lead to diabetes, obesity, depression, heart disease, impotence as well as high blood pressure.

Recent studies have also linked low levels of testosterone to thinking and memory problems. There is also evidence which shows that men who come to develop Alzheimer's disease usually tend to have lower testosterone levels compared to those who don't have the disease. The researchers carrying out the study found that men undergoing ADT treatment were nearly 88% more likely to develop the disease than men who have not undergone the treatment.

In conclusion, the researchers say that it's difficult to determine the exact amount of the increased risk for the Alzheimer's disease in only a single study and therefore it is necessary to note that the study does not conclusively prove causation. However considering the very high prevalence of the disease in older men, any rise in risk levels would have significant implications on the public health sector.