Men with low levels of the male sex hormone can take the testosterone replacement therapy without any worries as a new study has revealed that it will not increase their risk of prostate cancer.
In the analysis of more than a quarter-million medical records of mostly white men in Sweden, investigators at NYU Langone Medical Center and its Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center found that, as a group, men prescribed testosterone for longer than a year had no overall increase in risk of prostate cancer and, in fact, had their risk of aggressive disease reduced by 50 percent.
“Based on our findings, physicians should still be watching for prostate cancer risk factors, such as being over the age of 40, having African-American ancestry, or having a family history of the disease in men taking testosterone therapy, but should not hesitate to prescribe it to appropriate patients for fear of increasing prostate cancer risk,” says lead author Stacy Loeb.
Loeb points out that much of the concern over cancer risk is that, as part of standard therapy for advanced prostate cancer, tumor growth is decreased by drugs that drastically reduce rather than increase male hormones. But when used appropriately by men with age-related low testosterone who are otherwise healthy, testosterone replacement has been shown to improve sexual function and mood.
“Overall, our study suggests that what is best for men’s health is to keep testosterone levels balanced and within a normal range,” says Loeb, who suggests that men with testosterone levels below 350 nanograms per deciliter and symptoms should seek medical advice about whether they should consider testosterone therapy.
The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Diego, Calif.