Prostate Cancer: Hormonal Therapy Linked to Blood Clots
Treating prostate cancer with hormone-targeted therapy could increase a patient’s risk of developing a life-threatening blood clot, new research finds. As reported by Reuters Health, researchers from the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York found that men who received hormonal therapy during prostate cancer treatment doubled the rate of blood clots in their veins, arteries and lungs.
Scientists involved in the study followed 154,000 older men, 58,000 of whom were receiving hormonal therapy. Of these men, 15 percent developed a blood clot during the four-year period. By contrast, only seven percent of men not receiving hormonal therapy developed a blood clot.
“By no means is this a trivial risk,” lead author Behfar Ehdaie told Reuters, noting that one-quarter of the men who developed blood clots ended up in the hospital. The clots could move to the lungs, heart or brain and cause serious risk of death, he said.
In addition, side effects like weight gain, bone thinning, hot flashes and erectile dysfunction have also been associated with hormonal theraoy.
However, Ehdaie did not say his findings ought to dissuade men from considering hormonal therapy. Instead, the risks ought to be compared to the benefits.
Hormonal therapy works by curbing a man’s production of testosterone, the hormone responsible for prostate cancer growth. Removal of the testicles or medication is often recommended, but is usually only done so in dire cases. In such situations, the benefits may outweigh the risks, Reuters said.