Cognitive Impacts of Estrogen Treatment in Androgen-Deprived Males: What Needs to be Resolved (E-pub Ahead of Print)
Background: Many prostate cancer (PCa) patients are on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) as part of their cancer treatments but ADT may cause cognitive impairments. ADT depletes men of both androgen and estrogen. Whether estradiol supplementation can improve cognitive impairments in patients on ADT is understudied.
Objective: To summarize data on the effects of estradiol treatment on cognitive function of androgen-deprived genetic male populations (PCa patients and male-to-female transsexuals) and castrated male animals.
Method: Publications were identified by a literature search on PubMed and Google Scholar.
Results: While some studies showed that estradiol improves cognitive function (most notably, spatial ability) for castrated rats, what remain uninvestigated are: 1) whether estradiol can improve cognition after long-term androgen deprivation, 2) how estradiol affects memory retention, and 3) how early vs. delayed estradiol treatment after castration influence cognition. For androgen-deprived genetic males, estradiol treatment may improve some cognitive functions (e.g., verbal and visual memory), but the findings are not consistent due to large variability in the study design between studies.
Conclusion: Future studies are required to determine what the best estradiol treatment protocol is to maximize cognitive benefits for androgen-deprived genetic males. Tests that assess comparable cognitive domains in human and rodents are needed. What particularly under-investigated is how the effects of estradiol on cognitive ability intersect with other parameters; sleep, depression and physical fatigue. Such studies have clinical implications to improving the quality of life for both PCa patients on ADT as well as for male-to-female transsexuals.
Keywords: estradiol, cognition, prostate cancer, androgen deprivation therapy, male-to-female transsexuals, verbal memory, visual memory, spatial memory
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