In a group of men who underwent androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) after radical prostatectomy, the majority gained significant weight during the first year of treatment, but not thereafter.

The 132 men analyzed for the study were identified through a cancer-hospital database. Prior research has shown that men receiving ADT tend to lose lean muscle and increase fat mass. In this project, 92 (70%) of the men gained weight, and 40 (30%) either lost weight or maintained a stable weight. The gainers put on an average of 4.2 kg (9.26 lbs); the losers lost an average of 2.4 kg (5.3 lbs).

These changes in weight compared with no significant weight change in the year before starting ADT or in the second year on ADT for 84 men in whom these additional weight values were recorded.

No demographic, clinical, or pathologic differences existed between the gainers and the losers.

“While ADT has been a mainstay treatment for recurrent or metastatic prostate cancer, physicians are increasing the use of ADT to treat localized disease,” explained Stephen J. Freedland, MD, of the Duke Prostate Center at Duke University School of Medicine (Durham, North Carolina), and colleagues in BJU International (2011;107[6]:924-928; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2010.09679.x/pdf). “This rising utilization of ADT warrants a closer examination of the side-effects of therapy, which include metabolic changes that potentially contribute to an increased incidence of diabetes and perhaps other comorbidities.”

The authors added that their findings as well as the results of previous studies suggest that the ADT-related weight changes take place within the first year of therapy and persist thereafter, but do not necessarily continue to worsen over time.