Data has shown that men are at a higher risk of contracting a novel coronavirus infection as compared to women. In a positive development, a new study suggests that androgen-deprivation therapy used against prostate cancer could also protect against COVID-19 and slow the progression of the disease.
The authors observed a 1.8 times higher risk of COVID-19 infections in men who were cancer patients, as compared to the general male population. They also developed a more severe infection. However, an exception was noted with prostate cancer patients receiving androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT). Out of 5,273 men with prostate cancer on ADT, only four had developed COVID-19. Moreover, none of them died.
“Patients with prostate cancer receiving androgen-deprivation therapies had a significant four-fold reduced risk of COVID-19 infections compared to patients who did not receive ADT. An even greater difference was found when we compared prostate cancer patients receiving ADT to patients with any other type of cancer; there was a more than a five-fold reduction in risk of infection among the prostate cancer patients on ADT,” said Professor Andrea Alimonti, Università della Svizzera Italiana, one of the authors of this study.
The research suggests the possibility of using ADT as a part of the solutions being developed to tackle COVID-19, especially in men. The subjects of this study were based in the Veneto region in Italy.