Hypogonadism in male cancer patients
Burney BO, Garcia JM. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2012 Apr 20. [Epub ahead of print]


Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, 2002 Holcombe Blvd, Bldg 109, Rm 210, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.


Prevalence of hypogonadism in men with cancer has been reported between 40% and 90%, which is significantly higher than in the general population. Hypogonadism is likely to affect the quality of life in these patients by contributing to non-specific symptoms, including decreased energy, anorexia, sarcopenia, weight loss, depression, insomnia, fatigue, weakness, and sexual dysfunction. Pathogenesis of hypogonadism in cancer patients is thought to be multi-factorial. Inflammation may play an important role, but leptin, opioids, ghrelin, and high-dose chemotherapy through different mechanisms have all been implicated as the cause. Hypogonadism is also associated with poor survival in cancer patients. Data looking into the treatment of hypogonadal male cancer patients with testosterone are limited. However, improvements in body weight, muscle strength, lean body mass, and quality of life have been shown in hypogonadal men with other chronic diseases on testosterone replacement therapy. Prospective and interventional trials are needed to test the efficacy and safety of testosterone treatment in improving quality of life of these patients.