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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Mar;89(3):1174-80.

Effects of aromatase inhibition in elderly men with low or borderline-low serum testosterone levels.

Author information

1
Endocrine Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.

Abstract

As men age, serum testosterone levels decrease, a factor that may contribute to some aspects of age-related physiological deterioration. Although androgen replacement has been shown to have beneficial effects in frankly hypogonadal men, its use in elderly men with borderline hypogonadism is controversial. Furthermore, current testosterone replacement methods have important limitations. We investigated the ability of the orally administered aromatase inhibitor, anastrozole, to increase endogenous testosterone production in 37 elderly men (aged 62-74 yr) with screening serum testosterone levels less than 350 ng/dl. Subjects were randomized in a double-blind fashion to the following 12-wk oral regimens: group 1: anastrozole 1 mg daily (n = 12); group 2: anastrozole 1 mg twice weekly (n = 11); and group 3: placebo daily (n = 14). Hormone levels, quality of life (MOS Short-Form Health Survey), sexual function (International Index of Erectile Function), benign prostate hyperplasia severity (American Urological Association Symptom Index Score), prostate-specific antigen, and measures of safety were compared among groups. Mean +/- SD bioavailable testosterone increased from 99 +/- 31 to 207 +/- 65 ng/dl in group 1 and from 115 +/- 37 to 178 +/- 55 ng/dl in group 2 (P < 0.001 vs. placebo for both groups and P = 0.054 group 1 vs. group 2). Total testosterone levels increased from 343 +/- 61 to 572 +/- 139 ng/dl in group 1 and from 397 +/- 106 to 520 +/- 91 ng/dl in group 2 (P < 0.001 vs. placebo for both groups and P = 0.012 group 1 vs. group 2). Serum estradiol levels decreased from 26 +/- 8 to 17 +/- 6 pg/ml in group 1 and from 27 +/- 8 to 17 +/- 5 pg/ml in group 2 (P < 0.001 vs. placebo for both groups and P = NS group 1 vs. group 2). Serum LH levels increased from 5.1 +/- 4.8 to 7.9 +/- 6.5 U/liter and from 4.1 +/- 1.6 to 7.2 +/- 2.8 U/liter in groups 1 and 2, respectively (P = 0.007 group 1 vs. placebo, P = 0.003 group 2 vs. placebo, and P = NS group 1 vs. group 2). Scores for hematocrit, MOS Short-Form Health Survey, International Index of Erectile Function, and American Urological Association Symptom Index Score did not change. Serum prostate-specific antigen levels increased in group 2 only (1.7 +/- 1.0 to 2.2 +/- 1.5 ng/ml, P = 0.031, compared with placebo). These data demonstrate that aromatase inhibition increases serum bioavailable and total testosterone levels to the youthful normal range in older men with mild hypogonadism. Serum estradiol levels decrease modestly but remain within the normal male range. The physiological consequences of these changes remain to be determined.

PMID:
15001605
DOI:
10.1210/jc.2003-031467
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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