NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 07/03/14 -- What are the dangers of testosterone therapy? Does long-term hormone replacement therapy increase prostate cancer risk? Testosterone replacement therapy is on the rise, though recent reports suggest that low testosterone (Low T) diagnoses may be too prevalent and that excessive treatment pose risks to men. However, according to a recent German study, long-term testosterone therapy does not increase a man's risk of developing prostate cancer.
Some experts caution that testosterone therapy is overused. Evidence shows that the treatment increases prostate size, elevates prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, and permanently impairs the body's ability to produce natural testosterone. Leading New York robotic prostate surgeon, David B. Samadi, MD, Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, encourages men to seek a second opinion before beginning a testosterone therapy regimen.
"For some men, Low T is very real and can cause loss of energy, reduced sex drive, weight gain, and depression," said Dr. Samadi. "Men with truly low testosterone levels can experience tremendous benefits from testosterone therapy and may opt for long-term treatment. For them, this is good news. Their risk of prostate cancer is no higher than that of other men."
German researchers conducted registry studies of close to 1,000 Low T men using testosterone replacement therapy for up to 16 years. The men were reviewed in three separate cohorts. The two older cohorts, with mean ages of 57.70 and 59.53 years, contained prostate cancer diagnoses on par or below the general population. The youngest cohort, with a mean age of 42.6 years, did not have any incidences of prostate cancer.
Researchers did find evidence of increased prostate gland size and increased PSA levels across all three cohorts, suggesting the need for greater attention to medication management and health screenings.
"Since men using testosterone therapy are likely to have larger prostates and elevated PSA levels, they must adhere to routine screenings," said Dr. Samadi. "As physicians, we need to be vigilant and discerning about changes that are related to the hormone therapy verses changes that may indicate more significant health risks such as prostate cancer."
The German researchers compared their study participant data to benchmark data from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial and the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC)
The findings were presented the 2014 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), http://meetinglibrary.asco.org/content/123940-142
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