Androgen Deprivation Therapy, Insulin Resistance, and Cardiovascular Mortality: An Inconvenient Truth


  • Shehzad Basaria

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Division of Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
    Search for more papers by this author

Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 5200 Eastern Ave, Suite 4300, Baltimore, MD 21224 (e-mail:


ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer in men. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is used in the treatment of locally advanced and metastatic PCa. Although its use as an adjuvant therapy has resulted in improved survival in some patients, ADT has negative consequences. Complications like osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, gynecomastia, and adverse body composition are well known. Recent studies have also found metabolic complications in these men. Studies show that short-term ADT (3–6 months) results in development of hyperinsulinemia without causing hyperglycemia. Studies of men undergoing long-term (≥12 months) ADT reveal higher prevalence of diabetes and metabolic syndrome compared with controls. In addition, men undergoing ADT also experience higher cardiovascular mortality. Long-term prospective studies of ADT are needed to determine the timing of onset of these complications and to employ strategies to prevent them. In the meantime, baseline and serial screening for fasting glucose and other cardiac risk factors in men receiving ADT is prudent. In selected cases, glucose tolerance testing and cardiac evaluation may be required.