Pituitary-testis axis dysfunction following adjuvant androgen deprivation therapy

Julie Abildgaard, Hein Vincent Stroomberg, A Kirstine Bang, Jakob Albrethsen, Laura Smedegaard Kruuse, Anders Juul, Klaus Brasso, Andreas Røder, Niels Jørgensen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde


Men with high-risk, non-metastatic prostate cancer receive adjuvant androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for at least 2 years according to Danish guidelines. It remains unclarified if patients regain the function of the pituitary-testis axis after cessation of ADT. Thus, we aimed to investigate the function of the pituitary-testis axis following adjuvant ADT. In this study, we included men who underwent external beam radiation therapy and ADT for high-risk prostate cancer. All patients underwent assessment of testosterone deficiency (TD) symptoms, full biochemical assessment of the pituitary-testis axis, and dynamic stimulatory tests of gonadotropin (gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) test) and testosterone production (human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) test). Patients were diagnosed with TD based on a combination of TD symptoms and testosterone below age-specific reference ranges. TD was characterized as primary, secondary, or mixed based on serum gonadotropins and stimulatory tests. We found that among the 51 patients included in the study, the median time on ADT was 3.2 years and median time since ADT cessation was 3.8 years. Twenty-eight patients were diagnosed with TD; 10 had primary TD (testicular dysfunction), 11 secondary TD (pituitary dysfunction), and 7 mixed TD (combined pituitary and testicular dysfunction). An inadequate testosterone response to hCG stimulation was shown in 42 patients, whereas only 11 patients had a subnormal gonadotropin response to GnRH. We conclude that persistent TD is a common long-term consequence of adjuvant ADT in prostate cancer survivors, equally distributed between pituitary and testicular dysfunction. The study emphasizes the necessity for systematic follow-up of full pituitary-testis axis function in patients receiving adjuvant ADT.

TidsskriftEndocrine-Related Cancer
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - 1 jan. 2023


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