Individual variation of hormonal recovery after cessation of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist therapy in men receiving long-term medical castration therapy for prostate cancer

Scand J Urol Nephrol. 2006;40(3):198-203. doi: 10.1080/00365590600641533.


Objective: To evaluate the process of hormonal recovery after cessation of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist treatment in patients who had received long-term LHRH agonist therapy for prostate cancer.

Material and methods: Men who had successfully undergone androgen deprivation therapy with only monthly LHRH agonist therapy for > 30 months were enrolled and the administration of LHRH agonist was discontinued. Serum total testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) were measured before the cessation of LHRH agonist therapy and every 4 weeks thereafter, and the administration of LHRH agonist remained suspended until the total testosterone level recovered to > 50 ng/dl.

Results: Ten patients were enrolled in the study. The median (range) castration period and the levels of serum LH, FSH, total testosterone and PSA at cessation of therapy were 39 (30-56) months,<0.5 (<0.5-1.8) mIU/ml, 6.4 (3.0-15.9) mIU/ml, 15.3 (5.8-34.7) ng/dl and 0.13 (0.02-0.89) ng/ml, respectively. Testosterone recovered to > 50 ng/dl in all cases. There were large variations in the times required for recovery of LH and FSH (30-100 days) and serum testosterone (30-330 days). PSA began to increase at various testosterone levels, and there was a large variation (0-83%; median 41%) in the ratio of the androgen suppression (testosterone < 50 ng/dl) time to the period of LHRH agonist cessation.

Conclusions: There was considerable variation in the hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular hormone profiles during recovery from long-term medical castration. These findings are noteworthy when interruption of androgen deprivation therapy is applied with the intention of delaying the progression of hormone-refractory cancer or improving the patient's quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / agonists*
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen