A recent study examined adverse effects associated with use of intermittent androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) to treat prostate cancer. Researchers wished to compare relative adverse effects linked to intermittent versus continuous ADT therapy.1

The investigators examined the records of 1134 men with prostate cancer, utilizing data from a randomized SWOG trial of intermittent vs continuous ADT in men with prostate cancer, and evaluated their related Medicare claims. Median patient age was 71.3 years.

A hospital claim or 2+ outpatient or clinician claims was categorized by the researchers as an adverse event. In addition, qualifying events required a diagnosis of an endocrine, ischemic and thrombotic, sexual dysfunction, or psychological nature.

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The research team found hypercholesterolemia and osteoporosis to be the most commonly reported adverse effects (31% and 19% of respondents, respectively). Incidence of ischemic and thrombotic events was higher for intermittent vs continuous ADT (33% vs 24%, respectively); otherwise, the other reported adverse effects showed no statistically significant differences by therapy type.

The researchers conclude that prostate cancer treatment via intermittent ADT did not reduce long-term cognitive or endocrine effects, compared with continuous ADT.


1. Hershman DL, Unger JM, Wright JD, et al. Adverse health events following intermittent and continuous androgen deprivation in patients with metastatic prostate cancer [published online ahead of print December 23, 2015]. JAMA Oncol. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.4655.