Impact of androgen deprivation therapy on depressive symptoms in men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer

Cancer. 2012 Apr 1;118(7):1940-5. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26477. Epub 2011 Aug 25.


Background: Up to 50% of prostate cancer (PC) patients receive androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), often for several years. Although depression has been reported after a diagnosis of PC, whether ADT leads to or worsens depression is not clear.

Methods: Three groups were assembled: ADT users (men initiating continuous ADT), PC controls (PC patients who were not on ADT), and healthy controls. All 3 cohorts were matched on age, education, and physical function, and none had metastases. Depression was measured at study entry and again at 3, 6, and 12 months using the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Our primary outcomes were worsening depressive symptoms and incident depression (defined as a GDS score ≥5), analyzed using adjusted linear regression and logistic regression, respectively.

Results: Of the 257 participants (mean age, 69.1 years), baseline characteristics including GDS score and prior depression were similar across cohorts. In adjusted analyses of initially nondepressed patients, ADT use was not a significant predictor of change in GDS score at 3 months (P = .42), 6 months (P = .25), or 12 months (P = 0.19). Among ADT users, 8%-9% of participants developed incident depression compared with 0%-4% among PC controls and 4%-6% among healthy controls over 3-12 months (P>.05 at all time points). In a separate analysis of patients with depression at baseline, there was no effect of ADT on depressive symptoms at 3, 6, or 12 months (P = .11, .74, and .12, respectively).

Conclusion: Twelve months of ADT use were not associated with worsening depressive symptoms among nondepressed or depressed patients with nonmetastatic PC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology*


  • Androgen Antagonists