Men With Cancer Have High Hypogonadism Prevalence

Researchers find reduced quality of life and sexual function among testosterone-deficient men

FRIDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Men with cancer have a high prevalence of hypogonadism and a resulting reduction in quality of life (QoL) and sexual function, according to a study published online Oct. 25 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Stewart B. Fleishman, M.D., of the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues took blood samples and medical histories of 428 men with non-testosterone-related cancers and tested for levels of total testosterone (TT), free testosterone (FT), bioavailable testosterone (BAT), and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). The researchers also administered the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Prostate (FACT-P)QoL questionnaire to assess social, emotional, physical, and functional domains as well as sexual function.

The researchers found that the prevalence of hypogonadism was high and varied by standard of measurement used: 48 percent as measured by TT (less than 300 ng/dL), 78 percent as measured by FT (less than 52 pg/dL), and 66 percent as measured by BAT (less than 95 ng/dL). The hypogonadal patients had decreased total QoL scores on FACT-P and decreased sexual function scores.

"In conclusion, prevalence of hypogonadism is higher in this cancer population than in primary-care studies," the authors write. "The most important predictors of hypogonadism in our cancer population were obesity, opioid use, and white ethnicity. The higher prevalence is partly explained by these factors, but an effect of cancer and related therapy is suspected, although the exact contribution can only be postulated. Because of long-term consequences and alterations in QoL, the diagnosis and management of hypogonadism should be integrated into oncology practice."

The study was supported by Solvay Pharmaceuticals.

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Jeff Muise

Jeff Muise

Updated on October 29, 2010

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