In a new study, researchers found that common prostate cancer drugs may increase the risk of a dangerous heart rhythm disease.
The drugs are called antiandrogens, which are commonly used in testosterone-blocking therapies.
The research was conducted by a team from Sorbonne University in Paris.
Many men with prostate cancer rely on drugs as part of their treatment.
In the study, the researchers examined how several testosterone-blocking drugs affect the heart’s QT interval—the time it takes the heart cells to recharge in between beats.
The longer a QT interval, typically measured by an electrocardiogram, the more at risk a person is to develop serious heart rhythm problems and a condition called torsade de pointes.
The heart disease can result in sudden death. Women naturally have a longer QT interval than men, and they are at higher risk for this form of arrhythmia.
The team used a global health database to search for cases of men with long QT, torsade de pointes or a sudden death associated with testosterone-blocking therapy.
They found 7 of the 10 drugs they reviewed were linked to either long QT, torsade de pointes or sudden death.
The drug enzalutamide, which is used to treat metastatic prostate cancer, was linked with more deaths than any other drug.
The team says the impact and interaction of drugs on the heart’s rhythms is an important issue that probably doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves in terms of drug safety.
They suggest more research should explore the interaction between antiandrogens and other drugs and conditions that also can also prolong QT.
The team also suggests when doctors are giving antiandrogen drugs, they should monitor for torsade de pointes in patients.
Oncologists and cardiologist need to work together to manage QT prolongation and the risk of torsade de pointes in high-risk prostate cancer patients.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Joe-Elie Salem, an associate professor of cardiology and pharmacology.
The study is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
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