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22-03-2011 | Oncology | Article

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer linked to significant weight gain


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MedWire News: Study results indicate that prostate cancer patients treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) after surgical removal of their prostate are likely to experience significant weight gain.

This ADT-related weight gain occurs primarily in the first year of treatment, with no significant weight loss or gain thereafter, say the researchers.

"Despite its clinical efficacy in advanced prostate cancer, ADT is associated with an array of adverse side effects such as insulin resistance and increased risk of cardiovascular disease," said first author of the study Howard Kim (Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA).

"The rising use of ADT makes it even more important that we pay close attention to the side-effects of the therapy, including weight gain, as obesity is linked with a number of chronic and potentially life-threatening health problems," added co-author Stephen Freedland, also from Duke University.

The group investigated trends and predictors of weight change in 132 prostate cancer patients treated with prostatectomy and ADT at four US medical centers.

The majority (n=92; 70%) of men in the study population gained weight during the 6-18 months post-ADT initiation, for which data was available. The mean weight change for all men was +2.2 kg, although 35 (26%) men lost a mean of 2.4 kg during the same time period.

The mean weight gain among men who did put on weight was 4.2 kg.

Multivariate analysis revealed that none of the available demographic, clinical, and pathologic patient features significantly predicted weight change.

Eighty-four men had weight data available for the year before they started ADT and during the second year of ADT use. The researchers used this to further characterize weight change, and report no significant change in the year before starting ADT or in the second year of ADT.

Kim emphasized that ADT-associated weight gain occurring primarily in the first year of the study is the most notable finding.

"Previous studies have tended to concentrate on the short time frame immediately after ADT is initialized, whereas much of our data covers a three-year time-span.

"This has enabled us to provide a clearer picture, not only of how much weight patients can gain on ADT, but when any significant weight gain occurs," he concluded.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sarah Guy

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