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Androgen deprivation therapy does not keep localized prostate cancer from spreading, new study says

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researchers wanted to know if depriving men of testosterone actually keeps cancer from spreading beyond the prostate. What they found is that men who have localized prostate cancer with certain high-risk features and receive this treatment -- known as androgen deprivation therapy -- remain at risk of dying from prostate cancer.

"The notion that androgen deprivation therapy will hold prostate cancer at bay while you die of something else is not proving to be entirely true," said Tomasz Beer, M.D., director of the Prostate Cancer Research Program in the Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute.

This is especially important because recent studies of physician practice trends show that androgen deprivation therapy is being used with increased frequency for men with prostate cancer that has not spread.

"Reasons for this trend are not really known, but may include a desire to do something rather than do nothing on the part of both physicians and patients," Beer said. "Unfortunately, these men may be enduring significant side effects for an uncertain benefit."

Androgen deprivation therapy, also known as hormone therapy, is the gold standard of care for men whose prostate cancer is advanced and has spread throughout the body. The therapy works by shutting down male hormones, principally testosterone, that can promote prostate cancer growth. This common treatment for prostate cancer wipes out most male hormones found in the body. Side effects can be significant and include erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, fatigue, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, anemia, forgetfulness and insomnia.

Little is known about the effectiveness of hormonal therapy in men whose cancer remains localized within the prostate, so Beer and his colleagues decided to study data from the Prostate Cancer Outcome Study (PCOS). They presented their results on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Pr
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Contact: Rachel MacKnight
macknigh@ohsu.edu
503 494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
25-Feb-2006


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