A new analysis of patients who have undergone treatment for prostate cancer shows a connection between androgen deprivation therapy ( ADT ), a testosterone-lowering therapy and a common treatment for the disease, and dementia, according to researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Previous studies have shown men who undergo ADT may be at an increased risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, compared to men who were not treated with the therapy. This new analysis, the largest of its kind ever performed on this topic, shows that all existing studies taken together support the link to dementia and show a possible link to Alzheimer's.
The findings are published in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases.
Researchers compiled data from four different global databases looking at studies on ADT patients and dementia and Alzheimer's.
An analysis of more than 50,000 patients worldwide showed a consistent statistical link between men who underwent ADT for prostate cancer and men who developed dementia.
The numbers have shown correlation, not causation at this point, but that there is evidence of a direct connection.
Research has shown androgens play a key role in neuron maintenance and growth, so the longer you undergo this therapy to decrease androgens, the more it may impact the brain's normal functions.
The analysis was less conclusive on the question of Alzheimer's. While there was still a connection, it was not as clearly defined as the link to dementia.
Evidence for a link between androgen deprivation therapy and neurocognitive dysfunction is growing. ( Xagena )
Source: University of Pennsylvania, 2017