New research results suggest that a hormone therapy, commonly used to treat prostate cancer, called androgen-deprivation therapy may increase the risk of diabetes, particularly in obese men and patients should be made aware of this.
Androgen-deprivation therapy involves the use of medications or surgery to reduce body levels of testosterone, a hormone that is known to increase the growth of prostate cancer cells.
The findings, reported in BJU International, also suggest that vitamin D supplements may help protect against the development of diabetes in these patients.
Androgen-deprivation therapy is known to cause body changes than could impair sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that reduces blood sugar levels, lead author Dr. Ithaar H. Derweesh and colleagues, from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, note. Whether these changes have a clinically significant effect on sugar metabolism was unclear.
The current study involved 396 patients who received androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer at the researchers’ center between January 1989 and July 2005.
During 5 years of follow-up, 36 patients developed diabetes. Moreover, among 77 men with diabetes when the study began, 22 experienced worsening of their blood sugar levels.
Further analysis showed that obese men were nearly five times more likely to develop diabetes than their non-obese peers. Vitamin D supplementation, by contrast, markedly reduced the risk of diabetes.
"While further investigation is required, these data support close monitoring (of blood sugar levels) in men undergoing androgen-deprivation therapy , both in those with preexisting diabetes mellitus and those with no diabetes mellitus, but a history of obesity," the researchers conclude.
BJU International, November 2007.
New LDL Numbers Produces Greatest Decrease in Risk: Reducing LDL cholesterol levels to 60 mg/dL. or below, which are considerably below current recommended targets appears to provide greater protection in patients with established atherosclerotic disease, especially those with diabetes, according to US and German researchers. The researchers found that there was a highly significant reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events with descending levels of LDL cholesterol. The lowest risk was seen in patients who had achieved levels below 64 mg/dL.
See this week’s Item#9