Purpose: Many patients with prostate cancer receive androgen deprivation therapy for long periods. We compared physical and cognitive function, and quality of life in a cross-sectional study of 57 patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy for nonmetastatic prostate cancer and 51 healthy age matched controls.
Materials and methods: Physical and daily function were measured by the 6-minute walk test, grip strength, the timed up and go test, and activities of daily living measures. Cognitive function was evaluated by the High Sensitivity Cognitive Screen and by a self-report prototype Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy cognitive function subscale. Quality of life was assessed by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General with the subscale for fatigue and by the Patient-Oriented Prostate Utility Scale.
Results: Androgen deprivation therapy was given for a median of 1.8 years (range 0.4 to 7.4). Patients had lower median hemoglobin than controls (134 vs 148 gm/l, p <0.0001). Performance on physical tests was similar in the 2 groups. Moderate or severe cognitive impairment by the High Sensitivity Cognitive Screen was similar for patients (23%) and controls (35%, p = 0.2). Self-reported cognitive dysfunction was also similar. Scores for the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General were similar but the Patient Oriented Prostate Utility Scale summary score was worse for patients (median 71 vs 86, p <0.001). More patients reported severe fatigue (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Fatigue score less than 35, p = 0.03). Low energy, poor bladder control and loss of sexual function were reported in 36%, 47% and 95% of patients, and in 16%, 34% and 33% of controls, respectively.
Conclusions: Patients treated with androgen deprivation therapy experience more symptoms and have worse fatigue than controls, but this study did not detect any effect on physical or cognitive function.