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Testosterone therapy does not increase the risks of prostate cancer recurrence or death after definitive treatment for localized disease



The safety of testosterone therapy (TT) after definitive treatment for localized prostate cancer remains undefined. We analyzed the risks of biochemical recurrence and mortality in men receiving TT after treatment for localized prostate cancer.


Cohort analysis using the national US Veterans Affairs Informatics and Computing Infrastructure. We identified 69,984 patients with localized prostate cancer diagnosed from 2001 to 2015 treated with surgery or radiation. We coded receipt of TT after treatment as a time-dependent covariate; used the National Death Index to identify cause of death; and defined biochemical recurrence as PSA > 0.2 ng/mL after surgery and nadir + 2 ng/mL after radiation. We analyzed recurrence and mortality using cumulative incidence curves, Fine–Gray competing risk regression, and Cox regression.


This cohort included 28,651 surgery patients and 41,333 radiation patients, of whom 469 (1.64%) and 543 (1.31%), respectively, received TT with a median follow-up of 6.95 years. Comparing testosterone users to nonusers, there were no between-group differences in biochemical recurrence, prostate cancer-specific mortality, or overall mortality after surgery [hazard ratios (HR): 1.07; HR: 0.72 (p = 0.43); and HR: 1.11 (p = 0.43), respectively] or radiation [HR: 1.07; HR: 1.02 (p = 0.95); and HR: 1.02 (p = 0.86), respectively]. Limitations included lack of detailed data on TT duration and serum testosterone concentrations.


In this multi-ethnic national cohort, TT did not increase the risks of biochemical recurrence or prostate cancer-specific or overall mortality after surgery or radiation. These data suggest that TT is safe in appropriate men after definitive treatment of localized prostate cancer.

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This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Grant Number TL1TR001443 to RRS).

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Correspondence to J. Kellogg Parsons.

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Sarkar, R.R., Patel, S.H., Parsons, J.K. et al. Testosterone therapy does not increase the risks of prostate cancer recurrence or death after definitive treatment for localized disease. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 23, 689–695 (2020).

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