Effects of androgen deprivation therapy on telomere length

Recent evidence suggests that androgens either directly or via aromatisation to oestradiol may regulate telomere length, hence providing a mechanism whereby reproductive steroids are linked to biological aging in men. Using men with prostate cancer initiating androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), we tested the hypothesis that severe sex steroid deprivation would accelerate telomere shortening.

We conducted a secondary analysis of a 2-year prospective controlled study among 65 men with non-metastatic prostate cancer newly commencing adjuvant ADT (n=40) and age- and radiotherapy-matched prostate cancer controls (n=25).

We measured leukocyte telomere length (LTL) expressed as telomeric/single copy control gene (T/S) ratio at baseline, 6, 12 and 24 months. Generalised linear models determined the mean adjusted difference (MAD) [95% confidence interval] between groups during follow-up.

Compared to controls over 24 months, men receiving ADT had no change in LTL, MAD for T/S ratio (0.105 [-0.004; 0.213], p=0.235).

Using men with prostate cancer receiving ADT as a model we found no evidence that prolonged and profound sex steroid deprivation is associated with accelerated telomerase shortening Larger studies will be required to confirm, or refute these findings. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Clinical endocrinology. 2017 May 24 [Epub ahead of print]

Ada S Cheung, Bu B Yeap, Rudolf Hoermann, Jennie Hui, John P Beilby, Mathis Grossmann

Department of Medicine, , The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2Department of Endocrinology, Austin Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia., School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia., PathWest Laboratory Medicine, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Western Australia.