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J Urol. 2012 Jun;187(6):2162-6. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2012.01.080. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

The influence of testosterone suppression and recovery on sexual function in men with prostate cancer: observations from a prospective study in men undergoing intermittent androgen suppression.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Perth, Western Australia.



We investigated the effects of testosterone change on the sexual function of men with prostate cancer undergoing intermittent maximal androgen deprivation therapy.


We conducted a phase II cohort study of 250 patients with prostate cancer undergoing intermittent maximal androgen deprivation therapy. Flutamide (Eulexin®) 250 mg 3 times daily and leuprolide (Lucrin®) 22.5 mg were given during a 9-month treatment phase (ONPhase). Therapy was ceased provided that prostate specific antigen was 4 ng/ml or less. Monitoring continued every 3 months for a further 2 years (OFFPhase) unless re-treatment occurred. Sexual function was assessed with the QLQ-PR25 version 3.0 prostate module in conjunction with the QLQ-C30 questionnaire at baseline and every 3 months thereafter.


At baseline 46% of patients reported sexual activity with almost half (43%) reporting mild or no erectile problems. Of the men 63% reported an interest in sex (libido), with 28% reporting moderate to high libido. In addition, 26% felt less masculine as a result of illness or treatment. By 3 months of ONPhase all parameters deteriorated, worsening to a low at 9 months. Only 13% of the men reported sexual activity and 10% reported moderate to high libido. The proportion of men feeling less masculine increased to 50%. During the OFFPhase recovery was observed. Of those previously sexually active men 52% resumed sexual activity. Of these patients all reported erectile function returning to baseline. Levels of libido, masculinity and sexual activity recovered but not to baseline levels.


Libido, sexual activity and perceptions of masculinity deteriorate during ONPhase. Of the sexually active men at baseline half will resume sexual activity despite 9 months of androgen deprivation therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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