New research indicates that hormone therapy for prostate cancer can increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
In a population study involving more than 13,000 patients, researchers discovered a clear link between hormone therapy for prostate cancer and an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease in older men.
Hormone therapy for prostate cancer aims to reduce levels of male hormones in the body and stop them from powering prostate cancer cells. Patients can be treated with hormone therapy if their cancer cannot be cured by surgery or radiation, if their cancer returns following treatment with surgery and radiation, or to shrink cancer to make treatment effective.
The findings were published in The Aging Male journal.
Studying patients using hormone therapy for prostate cancer
The researchers used the Lithuanian cancer registry data to identify 13,343 men aged 40 to 79 diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2012 and 2016. They compared the risk of death from cardiovascular disease in 3,797 patients who took hormone-lowering drugs and 9,546 who had not. The average follow-up period for participants who had hormone therapy for prostate cancer was 4.63 years, and 5.13 years for those who did not.
Higher risk of cardiovascular disease
The researchers made relevant adjustments to the data and discovered:
- An over two-fold increase in the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease in men who received hormone therapy.
- A higher risk of cardiovascular disease-related death from the second year following a prostate cancer diagnosis.
- An almost five-fold higher risk in the 70 to 79 age group of those who received hormone therapy compared to those who did not.
The team analysed the risk of death from various subtypes of cardiovascular diseases following hormone therapy for prostate cancer, discovering an increased risk of death from stroke or coronary heart disease. The increased risks were 42% and 70% higher in men who had hormone therapy versus those who did not.
“Prostate cancer is typically diagnosed in older men, over 65 years or older – and many of them will have already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease,” said the lead author Justinas Jonusas at the National Cancer Institute, Lithuania. “It is therefore concerning that we found such a tremendous increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease-related death in elderly males receiving hormone-lowering drugs. Consequently, we would like to express our notion that this group of patients should be screened for pre-existing cardiovascular disease and their risk factors to minimise the risk of dying from these conditions.”