Estradiol and cognition during androgen deprivation in men with prostate carcinoma

Cancer. 2005 Apr 1;103(7):1381-7. doi: 10.1002/cncr.20962.


Background: The adverse effects of hormonal manipulation in prostate carcinoma need to be established in view of its increasing use as an adjuvant treatment. This prospective study investigated the association of androgen deprivation-induced estradiol decline with cognition in prostate carcinoma.

Methods: Cognitive testing of prostate carcinoma patients was carried out at baseline and at 6 and 12 months on androgen deprivation (AD). Cognitive performances were evaluated with standardized measures of information processing, including working memory and attention, visual and verbal skills, and memory performances in 31 tests. Testosterone and estradiol changes during AD were measured with the DELFIA (PerkinElmer, Inc., Wellesley, MA) system. Associations between changes in cognitive performances and estradiol decline were studied.

Results: Cognitive performances, which were significantly associated with decline in estradiol, included visual memory of figures (r = -0.52; P = 0.022) and recognition speed of numbers, which were impaired, (r = -0.57; P = 0.030) at 6 months, and improvement in verbal fluency (r = -0.52; P = 0.019) at 12 months. Other cognitive domains appeared unaffected by estradiol decline. The character of change (impairment or improvement) depended on the magnitude of estradiol decline.

Conclusions: The cognitive domains of verbal fluency, visual recognition, and visual memory were associated with decline in estradiol during androgen deprivation. The results suggest selective associations among testosterone decline, estradiol, and cognitive performance. Documentation of these associations has implications for informed patient support in hormonally treated prostate carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Androgen Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Cognition*
  • Estradiol / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol