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"For those who've been following the field, this is not surprising at all," said Dr. Stephen Freedland, a Duke University prostate cancer specialist, who wasn't involved in the study.
Freedland said that although some patients benefit from hormone therapy, it's dangerous in the wrong patients. The drugs can increase insulin resistance and raise cholesterol. They increase fat, too.
He likened it to the opposite of performance-enhancing drugs some athletes have taken: "You take away the muscles and give him fat."
In some men, the hormone-blocking treatment, sometimes called chemical castration, is given as a first step before brachytherapy to reduce the size of the prostate. In the study, the drugs given were leuprolide or goserelin injections combined with oral bicalutamide or flutamide.
The treatment costs about $1,400 a month.
The study was funded by Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
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