Prostate-Specific Antigen Levels during Testosterone Treatment of Hypogonadal Older Men: Data from a Controlled Trial

Academic Article


  • Context: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) changes during testosterone treatment of older hypogonadal men have not been rigorously evaluated. Design: Double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Setting: Twelve US academic medical centers. Participants: Seven hundred ninety hypogonadal men ≥65 years of age with average testosterone levels ≤275 ng/dL. Men at high risk for prostate cancer were excluded. Interventions: Testosterone or placebo gel for 12 months. Main Outcomes: Percentile changes in PSA during testosterone treatment of 12 months. Results: Testosterone treatment that increased testosterone levels from 232 ± 63 ng/dL to midnormal was associated with a small but substantially greater increase (P < 0.001) in PSA levels than placebo treatment. Serum PSA levels increased from 1.14 ± 0.86 ng/mL (mean ± SD) at baseline by 0.47 ± 1.1 ng/mL at 12 months in the testosterone group and from 1.25 ± 0.86 ng/mL by 0.06 ± 0.72 ng/mL in the placebo group. Five percent of men treated with testosterone had an increase ≥1.7 ng/mL and 2.5% of men had an increase of ≥3.4 ng/mL. A confirmed absolute PSA >4.0 ng/mL at 12 months was observed in 1.9% of men in the testosterone group and 0.3% in the placebo group. Four men were diagnosed with prostate cancer; two were Gleason 8. Conclusions: When hypogonadal older men with normal baseline PSA are treated with testosterone, 5% had an increase in PSA ≥1.7 ng/mL, and 2.5% had an increase ≥3.4 ng/mL.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cunningham GR; Ellenberg SS; Bhasin S; Matsumoto AM; Parsons JK; Preston P; Cauley JA; Gill TM; Swerdloff RS; Wang C
  • Start Page

  • 6238
  • End Page

  • 6246
  • Volume

  • 104
  • Issue

  • 12