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J Urol. 2005 Aug;174(2):534-8; discussion 538.

Prostate cancer in men using testosterone supplementation.

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Division of Urology, University of California at San Diego Medical Center, San Diego, California, USA.



Although an association between testosterone supplementation and the development of prostate cancer is unproven, a recent increase in the use of this therapy has reopened the debate about its safety in men at risk for prostate cancer. To increase awareness of this risk, we report on a series of patients in whom clinically significant prostate cancer developed and was presumed to be related to exogenous testosterone use.


The medical records of 6 urology practices were reviewed to identify men undergoing testosterone supplementation for sexual dysfunction or "rejuvenation " who were found to have prostate cancer after initiation of exogenous testosterone supplementation. Cases were analyzed to determine clinical and pathological parameters characterizing the presentation of prostate cancer.


A total of 20 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer after initiation of testosterone therapy. Prostate cancer was detected within 2 years of testosterone initiation in 11 men (55%) and from 28 months to 8 years in the remainder. The tumors were of moderate and high grade, being Gleason sum 6, 7 and 8 to 10 in 9 (45%), 6 (30%) and 5 (25%) men, respectively. Median serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) concentration at diagnosis tended to be low at 5.1 ng/ml (range 1.1 to 329.0) and digital rectal examination generally proved more sensitive than PSA assays in detecting the cancer. Patients seen by nonurologist physicians were monitored less often for prostate cancer during testosterone use than those followed by urologists.


Prostate cancer may become clinically apparent within months to a few years after the initiation of testosterone treatment. Digital rectal examination is particularly important in the detection of these cancers. Physicians prescribing testosterone supplementation and patients receiving it should be cognizant of this risk, and serum PSA testing and digital rectal examination should be performed frequently during treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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