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expert reaction to research suggesting androgen-deprivation therapies for prostate cancer may protect against COVID-19

Research, published in Annals of Oncology, reports that androgen-deprivation therapies for prostate cancer may protect against COVID-19.


Prof Richard Martin, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol, said:

“This is an interesting study from the region of Veneto in Italy. In a total male population on 2,399,783 some 4,532 men (0.2%) were SARS-CoV-2 positive. In 5,273 men with PCa on ADT, 4 were SARS-CoV-2 positive (0.08%), whereas in 37,161 men with PCa not on ADT, 114 were SARS-CoV-2 positive (0.3%), so a 3.75 fold increased risk if not on ADT. 

“The results were not adjusted for potential confounders, e.g. age, BMI & cardiometabolic co-morbidities, that are strong risk factors for SARS-CoV-2; and men on ADT may have been more likely to self-isolate and so be at reduced risk of getting the infection.  So these data are very interesting and raise a fascinating hypothesis, but do need independent validation in other large population-wide datasets, such as the primary care databases we have access to in the UK, with appropriate statistical analysis including adjustment for important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2.”


‘Androgen-deprivation  therapies  for  prostate  cancer  and risk of infection by SARS-CoV-2: a population-based study (n=4532)’ by M. Montopoli et al was published in Annals of Oncology at 00.01 UK time on Thursday 7 May 2020.


All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


Declared interests

Prof Martin: no conflicts.

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