The Relationship between Hot Flashes and Testosterone Recovery after 12 Months of Androgen Suppression for Men with Localised Prostate Cancer in the ASCENDE-RT Trial

Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2017 Oct;29(10):696-701. doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2017.06.009. Epub 2017 Jul 13.


Aims: This study describes the proportion of men who experienced hot flashes (flashes), and the testosterone level at onset, peak frequency and cessation of flashes after 12 months of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in men undergoing curative-intent external beam radiation therapy (± brachytherapy boost). We also aimed to characterise testosterone recovery in this population.

Materials and methods: This was a pre-specified secondary analysis of the ASCENDE-RT clinical trial. Three hundred and ninety-eight men were randomised. All received 12 months of ADT. The presence and frequency of flashes were patient reported. Cessation of flashes was defined as the first date a patient reported resolution of this symptom. Testosterone recovery was defined as any single serum testosterone above the threshold of 5, 7.5 or 10 nmol/l.

Results: The median age and follow-up were 68 years and 6.1 years. Flashes were reported in 93% of men. Flashes began and reached peak frequency at a median time of 4.0 months from the first luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone injection when testosterone levels had fallen to castrate. The median time to cessation of flashes was 7.6 months after the cessation of ADT (last injection + 3 months), when the median testosterone had risen to 5.7 nmol/l. A resolution of flashes was reported in 99% of patients. Baseline testosterone was available in 338 patients (85%). The median baseline testosterone was 13.2 nmol/l. The median (95% confidence interval) time of testosterone recovery to thresholds of 5 nmol/l, 7.5 nmol/l and 10 nmol/l were 9 (9-10) months, 13 (10-15) months and 18 (17-19) months from the cessation of ADT. At the time of censor, 96, 94 and 91% of patients had recovered testosterone to thresholds of 5, 7.5 and 10 nmol/l.

Conclusion: Flashes occur at castrate levels of testosterone, with cessation of hot flashes antedating full recovery of testosterone in most patients. Rates of testosterone recovery after 12 months of ADT exceed 90%, although it can be delayed.

Keywords: Androgen deprivation therapy; brachytherapy; external beam radiotherapy; hot flashes; prostate cancer; testosterone recovery.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Androgen Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Hot Flashes / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / complications
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Testosterone