Hormone therapy for prostate cancer may raise risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia

For patients with prostate cancer, treating the disease with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is linked to a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, compared to patients who do not receive the therapy, according to a study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine. The results were published this week in JAMA.

Prostate cancer patient sits in wheelchair while nurse listens to chest with stethoscope.

Of the 154,089 men sampled in the study, 62,330 received ADT within two years of their prostate cancer diagnosis and 91,759 did not. Of the patients with prostate cancer who received the hormone therapy, 13 percent were later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, compared to 9 percent who did not receive ADT. For dementia, those numbers widened: 22 percent of prostate cancer patients who received ADT were diagnosed with dementia, compared to 16 percent who did not receive the therapy. This research builds on previous, smaller studies that showed similar correlations between hormone therapy and cognitive risks in patients with prostate cancer. The lifetime risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia for men overall is 12 percent, according to data from the Framingham Heart Study.

“To our knowledge, this is one of the largest studies to date examining this association, and it followed patients for an average of eight years after their prostate cancer diagnosis. Our results suggest that clinicians need to raise their awareness about potential long-term cognitive effects of hormone therapy and discuss these risks with their patients,” says the study’s principal investigator Ravishankar Jayadevappa, a research associate professor of geriatrics and senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.