Prostate Cancer Treatment Linked to Kidney Risk

Dangerous drug lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report on a new study that raises major red flags concerning hormonal therapy commonly used to treat prostate cancer. The study suggests that undergoing androgen deprivation therapy increases the risk of developing kidney problems.

Though the hormone therapy lowers the risk of death among men with advanced and aggressive and advanced prostate cancer, researchers assert that it is increasingly being used to treat patients with less advanced disease. Hormone-target therapy for prostate cancer stops testosterone from reaching cancerous cells in the body.

Most prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to grow and spread, and by cutting off the supply of testosterone causes the cells to either die completely or grow more slowly, depending on the patient. Other side effects from this type of treatment include bone thinning, heart disease, diabetes, loss of muscle mass, and memory problems. Generally, the risks of side effects increase the longer you receive treatment.

The study suggesting the link to kidney problems was conducted by a group of scientists at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. One of the study authors, Laurent Azoulay, told Reuters Health that their study raised significant concerns about the prescribing of androgen deprivation therapy in patients whose cancer is not yet advanced. He said the key is finding a balance – identifying the patients for which benefits significantly outweigh the risks.

More than 10,000 men with prostate cancer were included in the study, treated between 1997 and 2008. They were followed for about four years after their initial diagnosis, and during that time, over 230 patients developed an acute kidney injury, defined by a rapid drop in kidney functioning.

The researchers ultimately found that patients undergoing hormone therapy were about two to three times more likely to experience kidney failure after other medications and health issues were taken into account. Fortunately, any past hormone therapy treatment was not linked to a higher kidney risk.

Azoulay noted that it is certainly possible that the changes in testosterone and estrogen levels among those patients on hormone therapy had something to do with changes in kidney health, including how the organs repair themselves after injury. If the study’s conclusion is validated by other peer-reviewed studies, physicians should consider running tests on patient’s kidney function before administering hormone therapy.

In patients with lesser-stage prostate cancer, the concern over kidney risks should be strongly considered particularly if there is uncertainty about the benefits of hormone-targeted treatment. Physicians recommend that patients find out whether there have been clear-cut and established benefits or if it is more of a gray area.

As stated, androgen deprivation therapy is best used in patients with advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Azoulay stated that for the population with lower-grade cancers of who have had a biochemical recurrence, the effectiveness of androgen deprivation therapy is inadequate, having little to no effect on survival.

Dangerous drug attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience advocating on behalf of those injured by recalled, defective, or dangerous pharmaceuticals. If your or a loved one was seriously injured by a medication or medical product, you may be entitled to significant compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.