Older men starting androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer may have baseline vulnerabilities in geriatric health, but appear to face little immediate detriment after treatment initiation, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, investigators found changes in physical function appeared to occur within the first 3 months of ADT in nearly half of patients. They also found that early prehabilitation, even for men on short-term ADT, may be beneficial.

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The researchers conducted a pilot study to evaluate the changes in physical function and geriatric health in older men with prostate cancer initiating ADT. The team used tests easily employed in routine clinical practice. The men were assessed every 3 months for up to 12 months.

The study included 17 men with a median age of 75 years (range, 67 to 85 years), 14 of whom had metastatic disease. The initial results of this ongoing study demonstrated that because many of these men show baseline vulnerability due to their age and cancer, ADT may lead to an immediate improvement in functioning. However, there could be greater improvements with interventions, according to the investigators.

Currently, interventions exist to support overall functioning in geriatric prostate cancer patients. However, these initial findings suggest that some patients might benefit from prehabilitation, starting physical interventions a few weeks before initiating ADT. 


1. Kessler ER, Flaig TW, Lam ET, et al. A pilot study of the effects of androgen deprivation therapy on physical function and comprehensive geriatric health in older men with prostate cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2017;35(suppl):abstr e16510.