Priyanshi Patel ’22
Young male cancer survivors have low testosterone levels compared to those of healthy populations. Long term effects of low testosterone involve endocrine disorders that affect up to 50% of adult childhood cancer survivors, and younger survivors are often unsure as to whether they would benefit from testosterone treatment. A study was conducted in the United Kingdom on secondary hospital outpatients.. The study examined the effect of testosterone replacement on body composition, quality of life, and metabolic profile in males with borderline low testosterone levels. These researchers hypothesized that the lower testosterone levels in male cancer survivors may have contributed to high fat mass and a poor quality of life.
Young males of ages 25 to50 with low testosterone levels participated in a placebo-controlled double-blind trial of testosterone replacement therapy. These men received either a placebo (inactive) gel or active testosterone gel that they applied to their skin for six months. Neither the participant nor the physician knew whether they were receiving placebo or active testosterone. At the beginning and end of each trial, the participants’ body composition and quality of life were measured using a questionnaire. After six months, the young male cancer survivors that were treated with testosterone had a decrease in their fat mass and an increase in lean mass, but the quality of life questionnaires did not show any differences between those treated with or without the placebo.
The young male survivors with borderline low morning testosterone levels could benefit from testosterone replacement, but the researchers of this study claimed that testosterone replacement should be considered within the context of other interventions to improve body composition.
- J. Walsh, et. al., Testosterone replacement in young male cancer survivors: A 6-month double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial. PLOS Medicine, Public Library of Science 16, 1-18 (2019). doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002960
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