Androgen deprivation therapy, often used in the treatment of prostate cancer, has been associated with a nearly twofold increase in risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published online ahead of print December 7 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. 

Senior author Nigam Shah, MBBS, PhD, and colleagues analyzed the electronic medical records of approximately 5.5 million patients, identifying 16,888 men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer for inclusion in their study. Of these, 2,397 men (14.2%) received androgen deprivation therapy during a median follow-up of 2.7 years. The researchers found a statistically significant association between use of androgen deprivation therapy and risk for Alzheimer’s disease; patients treated with the therapy had a 1.88-times increased rate of developing Alzheimer’s disease, compared with patients who did not receive the therapy. In addition, the investigators noted a statistically significant increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease with longer periods of treatment; men who were on androgen deprivation therapy for more than 12 months had a 2.12-times higher risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 

“The association found in this study should be evaluated in the context of the overall treatment choices available to any specific patient,” Dr. Shah said.

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