Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), commonly achieved with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists or antagonists, is a mainstay of prostate cancer therapy. While randomized controlled trials demonstrate that ADT improves survival among men with unfavorable risk prostate cancer, retrospective studies have suggested that some men with comorbid illnesses such as heart disease may not derive a benefit from—or may even be harmed by—ADT. However, the nature of this harm has not been characterized. We studied over 5000 men with prostate cancer who were treated with brachytherapy (implanted radioactive seeds) with or without ADT. We analyzed the men based on pre-treatment cardiac comorbidity and examined the association between ADT and death from cardiac causes. We found that among men with congestive heart failure or a past myocardial infarction (MI), Androgen deprivation therapy was associated with a three-times greater risk of death from heart disease. However, Androgen deprivation therapy was not associated with greater risk of cardiac mortality in men without heart disease or with a risk factor for heart disease, such as diabetes, hypertension or hyperlipidemia.