Purpose: Little is known about the effect of androgen deprivation therapy on the brain despite the fact that sex steroid receptors are abundant in cortical brain regions that mediate memory and other cognitive functions. We characterized the impact of androgen deprivation and of subsequent estradiol therapy on the long-term and working memory of patients with prostate cancer. Materials and Methods: Long-term memory (immediate and delayed paragraph recall tests), working memory (SOP and Trails tests) and Profile of Mood States were assessed at baseline and 4 weeks later in 18 patients with androgen independent prostate cancer beginning second line hormonal therapy with transdermal estradiol 0.6 mg/24 hours. The same assessments were performed in 2 age matched control groups of 18 patients with prostate cancer undergoing androgen deprivation continuing on hormonal therapy and 17 community dwelling healthy men. Results: Immediate and delayed verbal memory were significantly worse in patients with prostate cancer on androgen deprivation than in age matched healthy controls. In addition, men with prostate cancer took more time to complete the Trails A task, indicating slower processing speed, but did not differ significantly from healthy controls in working memory tasks. In individual repeated measures analyses, verbal memory performance improved with estradiol therapy but did not change in the 2 control groups. Conclusions: Sex steroid loss and replacement have effects on specific cognitive processes in older men. Furthermore, estrogen has the potential to reverse the neurotoxic effects on memory performance caused by androgen deprivation.
- Prostatic neoplasms
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