(HealthDay News) — Older men who receive androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer may be at increased risk of developing depression, according to a new, large study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The findings are based on Medicare records for 78,552 US men treated for prostate cancer between 1992 and 2006. Overall, 43% received ADT. The team reported accounting for other factors that could affect depression risk — including the severity of a man’s cancer, his age, and education.

The researchers found that among those given ADT, 7.1% developed clinical depression in the next few years. That compared with 5.2% of men who did not have the treatment. The longer the men were on ADT, the higher the risk of depression, the investigators added. Of men who were treated for 6 months or less, 6.1% developed depression within 3 years of their cancer diagnosis. That rose to 8.0% among men who were on ADT for at least a year. Once other factors were taken into account, ADT was tied to a 23% increase in the risk of depression.

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The findings do not prove that ADT is to blame. But they do offer “pretty strong evidence” that might be the case, senior researcher Paul Nguyen, MD, director of prostate brachytherapy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told HealthDay. “Our study suggests that psychiatric side effects should be one of the considerations.”


  1. Dinh KT, Reznor G, Muralidhar V, et al. Association of Androgen Deprivation Therapy With Depression in Localized Prostate Cancer. JCO. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.64.1969.