Prostate cancer drugs cause serious heart problems

Two of the most common drugs to treat advanced prostate cancer increase the risk of serious heart problems that need emergency care.

One of the drugs, abiraterone, raises the risk of hypertension, diabetes or heart problems by 77 percent, and enzalutamide increases the risk by 22 percent.

The drugs trigger sudden reactions that can need emergency care or a stay in hospital, say researchers from Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan.

Patients who had hormone therapy for their prostate cancer were most at risk from the drugs.  

Although the drugs had passed all the safety trials, the tests hadn’t been on patients getting hormone therapy and the Michigan team suspects they hadn’t been given to people with advanced cancers.

Oncologists have started to prescribe the two drugs for early-stage prostate cancer, and the researchers fear this will mean more men will be taking them for longer, and this could also increase the rate of adverse reactions.

(Source: JNCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2022; doi: 10.1093/jnci/djac081)