Hypogonadism in male cancer patients: A cross-sectional study
Introduction. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the USA (2). Studies have shown a coexistence of cancer and hypogonadism (9,31,13). The majority of patients with cancer develop cachexia, which cannot be solely explained by anorexia seen in these patients. Testosterone is a male sex hormone which is known to increase muscle mass and strength, maintain cancellous bone mass, and increase cortical bone mass, in addition to improving libido, sexual desire, and fantasy (14). If a high prevalence of hypogonadism is detected in male cancer patients, and a significant difference exists in testosterone levels in cancer patients with cachexia versus those without cachexia, testosterone may be administered in future randomized trials to help alleviate cachexia. Study group and design The study group consisted of male cancer patients and non-cancer controls aged between 40 and 70 years. The primary study design was cross-sectional with a sample size of 135. The present data analysis is done on a subset convenience sample of 72 patients recruited between November 2006 and January 2010. Methods. Patients aged 40-70 years with or without a diagnosis of cancer were recruited into the study. All patients with a BMI over 35, significant edema, non-melanomatous skin cancer, current alcohol or illicit drug abuse, concomitant usage of medications interfering with gonadal axis, and anabolic agents, patients on tube feeds or parenteral nutrition within 3 months prior to enrollment were excluded from the study. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Baylor College of Medicine and is being conducted at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Houston. My thesis is a pilot data analysis that employs a smaller subset convenience sample of 72 patients determined by using the data available for the 72 patients (of the intended sample of 135 patients) recruited between November 2006 and January 2010. The primary aim of this analysis is to compare the proportion of patients with hypogonadism in the male cancer and non-cancer control groups, and to evaluate if a significant difference exists with respect to testosterone levels in male cancer patients with cachexia versus those without cachexia. The procedures of the study relevant to the current data analysis included blood collection to measure levels of testosterone and measurement of body weight to categorize cancer patients into cancer cachexia and cancer non-cachexia sub-groups. Results. After logarithmic transformation of data of cancer and control groups, the unpaired t test with unequal variances was done. The proportion of patients with hypogonadism in the male cancer and non-cancer control groups was 47.5% and 22.7% with a Pearson chi2 statistic of 1.6036 and a p value of 0.205. Comparing the mean calculated Bioavailable testosterone in male cancer patients and non-cancer controls resulted in a t statistic of 21.83 and a p value less than 0.001. When the cancer group alone was taken, the mean free testosterone, calculated bioavailable testosterone and total testosterone levels in the cancer non-cachexia sub-group were 3.93, 5.09, 103.51 respectively and in the cancer cachexia sub-group were 3.58, 4.17, 84.08 respectively. The unpaired t test with equal variances showed that the two sub-groups had p values of 0.2015, 0.1842, and 0.4894 with respect to calculated bioavailable testosterone, free testosterone, and total testosterone respectively. Conclusions. The small sample size of this exploratory study, resulting in a small power, does not allow us to draw definitive conclusions. For the given sub-sample, the proportion of patients with hypogonadism in the cancer group was not significantly different from that of patients with hypogonadism in the control group. Inferences on prevalence of hypogonadism in male cancer patients could not be made in this paper as the sub-sample is small and therefore not representative of the general population. However, there was a statistically significant difference in calculated Bioavailable testosterone levels in male cancer patients versus non-cancer controls. Analysis of cachectic and non-cachectic patients within the male cancer group showed no significant difference in testosterone levels (total, free, and calculated bioavailable testosterone) between both sub-groups. However, to re-iterate, this study is exploratory and the results may change once the complete dataset is obtained and analyzed. It however serves as a good template to guide further research and analysis.
Konda, Bhavana, "Hypogonadism in male cancer patients: A cross-sectional study" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1476658.