Elevated testosterone levels – either naturally occurring or from use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), does not increase prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels or prostate cancer risk, according to new research.
“Many urologists are concerned that TRT may accelerate prostate growth not only in benign disease but also in cancer,” said Peter Boyle, MD, with the International Prevention Research Institute in Ecully, France. The theory is that most prostate cancers respond to androgen deprivation therapy. Thus, testosterone is thought to stimulate prostate growth and prostate cancer.
Boyle set out to identify whether there is a link between testosterone and prostate cancer by undertaking two meta-analyses. The first was a study of 20 estimates from 18 publications for serum testosterone and prostate cancer risk. The second involved a review of 24 studies that produced unique estimates of the change in PSA levels after the onset of testosterone treatment.
Researchers found that neither meta-analyses showed a link between testosterone and progression of prostate cancer or the development of prostate cancer. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.
While the report is reassuring, there are testosterone side effects that should be weighed for patients who are considering testosterone replacement therapy. The therapy is indicated for men who do not produce enough of the hormone due to injury or disease, a condition known as hypogonadism.
However, aggressive marketing campaigns by drug companies pushing testosterone treatments have encouraged men to ask their doctors if they may be suffering from “Low T,” a condition essentially invented by testosterone supplement makers. The treatments, the ads say, can increase libido, add muscle mass, and help men lose weight.
But studies have found that testosterone treatment can cause cardiovascular risks including heart attacks, strokes and death. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has even required testosterone makers to include these possible side effects on safety labels of testosterone products. The agency has also ordered that the prescribing instructions of these drugs be reworded to limit the use to only men who have been tested and determined to have hypogonadism.
Source: MedPage Today