Does testosterone therapy increase the risk of prostate cancer?

Endocr Pract. 2008 Oct;14(7):904-11. doi: 10.4158/EP.14.7.904.


Objective: To review factors affecting use of testosterone therapy for hypogonadism including the persistent controversial link between testosterone therapy and prostate cancer.

Methods: We reviewed studies investigating the relationship between testosterone therapy and prostate cancer progression and summarized strategies for hypogonadism management and prostate monitoring.

Results: Trials of up to 36 months in length and longitudinal studies consistently fail to demonstrate an increased prostate cancer risk associated with increased testosterone levels. No evidence of an associated relationship between exogenous testosterone therapy and prostate cancer has emerged from clinical trials or adverse event reports. It does not appear that exogenous testosterone accumulates in the prostate or provokes major biologic change in the prostate gland. In addition, preliminary evidence indicates that low endogenous testosterone may confer an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Conclusions: Mounting evidence demonstrates that there is a lack of association between testosterone therapy and prostate cancer progression. Testosterone therapy may be prescribed for men for whom it was once not considered. Careful monitoring of patients with hypogonadism who are receiving testosterone therapy is imperative. Well-designed, large-scale prospective clinical trials are necessary to adequately address prostate safety in hypogonadal men receiving testosterone therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / drug therapy
  • Hypogonadism / pathology
  • Male
  • Prostate / drug effects
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Testosterone / adverse effects*
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*


  • Testosterone