Dementia has been linked to hormone-blocking prostate cancer treatment, found a large, US government-funded analysis. Previous studies have been unclear about the findings but experts say the new results stand out because they are from a respected national cancer database and the men were tracked for a long time — eight years on an average.
Among 1,54,000 older patients, 13 per cent who received hormone-blocking treatment developed Alzheimer’s, compared to nine per cent who had other treatment or chose no therapy, the study found.
The results, using perhaps one of the largest and most reliable databases, suggests there truly may be a connection, said Dr Sumanta Pal, a prostate cancer expert with the American Society of Clinical Oncology. However, Pal was not involved in the study.
The results aren’t proof but experts say they underscore the importance of discussing potential risks and benefits when choosing cancer treatment.
The researchers analysed data from a National Cancer Institute database of cancer cases and treatment and covered almost 30 per cent of the US population. The study focused on men in their 70s, on an average, with local or advanced prostate cancer diagnosed between 1996 and 2003. They were followed until 2013. Medicare records indicated dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Most U.S. men who received this treatment were in their 70s or older.
The study from University of Pennsylvania was published in JAMA Network Open.