According to a new study published in PLoS Medicine, testosterone replacement therapy may be beneficial for young male cancer survivors, particularly after testicular cancer in terms of improvement in body composition.
Cancer and its treatment including chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been associated with low levels of testosterone, resulting in adverse health outcomes in survivors.
In a double-blind study funded by Cancer Research UK, 136 men aged 25-50 years were randomly assigned to receive either testosterone replacement therapy or placebo over six months. Ninety per cent of the participants had received treatment for testicular cancer.
At the end of the study, participants receiving hormone replacement therapy had an average 1.8 kg loss of fat mass and 1.5 kg gain of lean body mass. Fat loss was pronounced in individuals with high levels of fat around their waists which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Dr Áine McCarthy from Cancer Research UK said: "As more and more people survive cancer, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand and limit the potential long-term side-effects from treatment. By demonstrating that using testosterone replacement therapy for six months can mitigate some of these effects, this small study offers a potential way to improve survivors’ quality of life."