To examine, in a prospective study, the influence that temporary reversible medical castration for localized prostate cancer has on cognition, by assessing whether temporary 3–5 month treatment with a luteinizing-hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist before radical radiotherapy had a short- or long-term affect on cognitive function.
PATIENTS, SUBJECTS AND METHODS :
Thirty-two patients with localized prostate cancer had cognitive assessments at baseline (T1) before the start of drug treatment, at 3 months (T2) or on completing drug treatment but before radiotherapy, and 9 months later (T3). Eighteen men with no prostate cancer (controls subjects) completed the cognitive tests at the same times. In addition, psychological functioning and quality of life were assessed at the same times, together with serum free and bound testosterone, β-oestradiol and sex hormone-binding globulin levels.
There was a significant cognitive decline (on at least one cognitive task) at T2 in 15 (47%) patients vs three (17%) of controls (odds ratio 4.412, P = 0.033). Most patients (nine of 15) who had a change in performance declined on tasks of spatial memory and ability. At T3 there was significant cognitive decline in 11 (34%) patients and five (28%) control subjects (odds ratio 1.37, P = 0.631).
This pilot study suggests that short-term LHRH therapy for early-stage prostate cancer has modest short-term consequences on men's cognitive functioning; a larger prospective study is warranted.