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Androgen Deprivation Therapy and Cognitive Function in Men with Prostate Cancer.

Sept 2010 Source: Critical Reviews in Oncology Hematology

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer, excluding skin cancer, in men in the United States. It is primarily diagnosed in men over 65, although it may begin much earlier. Some cancers of the prostate are very slow growing, while others behave aggressively. Prostate cancer often metastasizes to other tissue, including the brain, lungs, lymph nodes, and bones. Early detection is critical in order to increase the chances for survival. The cancer can be felt upon digital rectal examination (DRE). These examinations are recommended routinely for all men over the age of 50 and high-risk men should commence at age 40.

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is also known as hormone therapy. The goal of ADT is to block the level of circulating androgens (male hormones), which can fuel the growth of prostate cancers.

A study was performed to determine prevalence of cognitive impairment in older men treated with ADT and any changes in cognitive performance over time. Thirty-two patients ranging in age from 51 to 87 years with prostate cancer underwent extensive neuropsycological testing before ADT and 6 months after treatment. At baseline, 45 percent of the patients met the criteria for mild cognitive performance. At the end of the 6 month study, no significant changes were recorded for the group on any cognitive measures. Since finding a high prevalence of lower cognitive performance among patients just starting the treatment, the researchers suggest an assessment of cognitive function should be considered before treatment for future research and to inform clinical management.1

1 Mohile SG, Lacy M, Rodin M, et al. Cognitive effects of androgen deprivation therapy in an older cohort of men with prostate cancer. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. Aug2010;75(2):152-9.