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Androgen Deprivation Therapy: Minimizing Exposure and Mitigating Side Effects

Miren Gaztañaga and Juanita Crook

Despite common and occasionally serious side effects, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is widely used in the management of prostate cancer at all stages and presentations. ADT is frequently used in situations in which evidence of benefit is lacking, such as combined with definitive radiotherapy for favorable-risk prostate cancer, or in the primary management of elderly patients with low-risk disease. In intermediate- and high-risk disease, the role of ADT is being challenged and is decreasing in importance, as the ability to deliver very high biologically effective doses becomes more widely available, especially through the combination of external radiotherapy and brachytherapy. Appropriately selecting patients for ADT according to established indications will minimize the number exposed, whereas systematic patient education before initiating treatment can ameliorate the side effects. Minimizing the exposure to ADT and efforts to mitigate the side effects may have a beneficial effect on quality of life for many men with prostate cancer.