Testosterone therapy in hypogonadal men and potential prostate cancer risk: a systematic review

Int J Impot Res. Jan-Feb 2009;21(1):9-23. doi: 10.1038/ijir.2008.31. Epub 2008 Sep 11.


This paper provides a systematic review of the literature about prostate cancer risk associated with testosterone therapy for hypogonadism. A comprehensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and other resources was conducted to identify articles that highlight occurrences of prostate cancer in men receiving testosterone therapy for hypogonadism treatment. Articles that met study inclusion criteria were assessed for causality between testosterone treatment and prostate cancer, increased prostate-specific antigen or abnormal digital rectal examination findings. Of 197 articles relating to testosterone therapy, 44 met inclusion criteria: 11 placebo-controlled, randomized studies; 29 non-placebo-controlled studies of men with no prostate cancer history; and 4 studies of hypogonadal men with history of prostate cancer. Of studies that met inclusion criteria, none demonstrated that testosterone therapy for hypogonadism increased prostate cancer risk or increased Gleason grade of cancer detected in treated vs untreated men. Testosterone therapy did not have a consistent effect on prostate-specific antigen levels.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / complications*
  • Hypogonadism / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Testosterone / adverse effects*
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*


  • Testosterone