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Abstract

Volume 14, Issue 2 (March 2012) 14, 187–192; 10.1038/aja.2011.102

Hematological changes during androgen deprivation therapy

Mathis Grossmann and Jeffrey D Zajac

Department of Medicine, Austin Health/Northern Health, University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia

Correspondence: Dr M Grossmann, (mathisg@unimelb.edu.au)

Received 22 June 2011; Revised 8 November 2011; Accepted 17 November 2011; Advance online publication 9 January 2012

Abstract

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) has been associated with a plethora of adverse effects, consistent with the androgen dependency of multiple reproductive and somatic tissues. One such tissue is the hemopoietic system, and one of the most predictable consequences of ADT is the development of anemia. Although anemia caused by ADT is rarely severe, ADT is often given to frail, elderly men with increased susceptibility to anemia due to multiple other causes. ADT-associated anemia may contribute to fatigue and reduced quality of life (QoL) in such men, although this requires further study. While anemia is an independent risk factor of mortality in men with prostate cancer, it is not known whether treatment of ADT-associated anemia alters clinically important outcomes, or whether treatment affects mortality. Awareness of the phenomenon of ADT-induced anemia should avoid unnecessary work-up in mild cases of normocytic normochromic anemia. However, assessment and treatment of more severe anemia may be required. This should be determined on an individual basis. In contrast to the well-described actions of ADT on erythropoiesis, its effect on other hemopoietic lineages has been less well elucidated. While preclinical studies have found roles for androgens in maturation and differentiated function of neutrophils, lymphocytes and platelets, the implications of these findings for men with prostate cancer receiving ADT require further studies.

Keywords: anemia; androgen deprivation therapy (ADT); prostate cancer

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