Androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer: long-term safety and patient outcomes

Patient Relat Outcome Meas. 2014 Jul 5;5:63-70. doi: 10.2147/PROM.S52788. eCollection 2014.


Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) constitutes the first-line treatment for patients with locally advanced tumors, recurrent or metastatic disease. Given its widespread use, clinicians should be familiar with common side effects of this treatment. This review focuses on common side effects of ADT and available treatment options to control the side effects. Also, it briefly compares continuous ADT with other therapeutic approaches for androgen deprivation in prostate cancer patients. Similar to hormonal medications, newer non-hormonal therapeutic options including gabapentin and acupuncture have at best moderate effect in controlling hot flashes in patients on ADT. Supervised and/or home exercise programs significantly improve ADT-related fatigue, metabolic/cardiovascular side effects, and cognitive dysfunction. Denosumab, a human monoclonal antibody against RANK-L, is more effective than bisphosphonates in preventing skeletal-related events in patients with metastatic or castrate-resistant prostate cancer and unlike bisphosphonates, it can also reduce the risk of vertebral fractures in men receiving ADT for non-metastatic prostate cancer. Toremifene, a selective estrogen receptor inhibitor, has dual beneficial effects on ADT-related osteoporosis and metabolic dysfunction. Metformin coupled with lifestyle modification is also a well-tolerated treatment for metabolic changes during ADT. While producing similar oncological outcomes, intermittent ADT is associated with higher quality of life in patients under ADT by improving bone health, less metabolic and hematologic complications, and fewer hot flashes and sexual dysfunction events.

Keywords: adverse effects; androgen deprivation therapy; prostate cancer; therapy.

Publication types

  • Review