Men taking androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the years that followed than those who didn’t undergo the therapy, an analysis of medical records from two large hospital systems has shown. Men with the longest durations of ADT were even more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, do not prove that ADT increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But the authors say they clearly point to that possibility, and are consistent with other evidence that low levels of testosterone may weaken the aging brain’s resistance to Alzheimer’s.
For the study, researchers evaluated two large sets of medical records, one from the Stanford health system and the other from Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. The researchers scanned the records of 1.8 million patients from Stanford Health Care, and, through a prior institutional research agreement, 3.7 million patients from Mount Sinai Hospital.
Among this cohort, they identified about 9,000 prostate cancer patients at each institution, 16,888 of whom had non-metastatic prostate cancer. A total of 2,397 had been treated with androgen deprivation therapy. The researchers compared these ADT patients with a control group of non-ADT prostate cancer patients, matched according to age and other factors.
Using two different methods of statistical analysis, the team showed that the ADT group, compared to the control group, had significantly more Alzheimer’s diagnoses in the years following the initiation of androgen-lowering therapy. By the most sophisticated measure, members of the ADT group were about 88 percent more likely to get Alzheimer’s.
Source: Penn Medicine