Purpose: We investigated the effects of testosterone change on the sexual function of men with prostate cancer undergoing intermittent maximal androgen deprivation therapy.
Materials and methods: We conducted a phase II cohort study of 250 patients with prostate cancer undergoing intermittent maximal androgen deprivation therapy. Flutamide (Eulexin®) 250 mg 3 times daily and leuprolide (Lucrin®) 22.5 mg were given during a 9-month treatment phase (ONPhase). Therapy was ceased provided that prostate specific antigen was 4 ng/ml or less. Monitoring continued every 3 months for a further 2 years (OFFPhase) unless re-treatment occurred. Sexual function was assessed with the QLQ-PR25 version 3.0 prostate module in conjunction with the QLQ-C30 questionnaire at baseline and every 3 months thereafter.
Results: At baseline 46% of patients reported sexual activity with almost half (43%) reporting mild or no erectile problems. Of the men 63% reported an interest in sex (libido), with 28% reporting moderate to high libido. In addition, 26% felt less masculine as a result of illness or treatment. By 3 months of ONPhase all parameters deteriorated, worsening to a low at 9 months. Only 13% of the men reported sexual activity and 10% reported moderate to high libido. The proportion of men feeling less masculine increased to 50%. During the OFFPhase recovery was observed. Of those previously sexually active men 52% resumed sexual activity. Of these patients all reported erectile function returning to baseline. Levels of libido, masculinity and sexual activity recovered but not to baseline levels.
Conclusions: Libido, sexual activity and perceptions of masculinity deteriorate during ONPhase. Of the sexually active men at baseline half will resume sexual activity despite 9 months of androgen deprivation therapy.
Copyright © 2012 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.