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In young cancer survivors with low testosterone levels, testosterone replacement therapy is linked to improved body composition, a new study published this week said. Medicine PLOS by Richard Ross of the University of Sheffield, UK and colleagues.
Young survivors of cancer have lower testosterone levels than healthy populations, associated with an increased body fat mass and a poorer quality of life than controls. In the new study, the researchers randomized 136 male cancer survivors aged 25 to 50 with low testosterone levels to receive either a placebo gel or a 2% testosterone gel. The participants applied the gel on the skin daily for 26 weeks.
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At the end of the study period, men treated with testosterone had an average decrease of 1.8 kg of fat mass (95% CI -2.9 to -0.7, p = 0.0016) and an average increase of 1.5 kg of lean mass (95% % CI 0.9 to 2.1, p <0.0001) compared to placebo. The reduction in fat mass was greatest in those with the highest fat mass at the initial stage. Despite the change in body composition, it had no effect on the quality of life measured by the questionnaire.
"This study provides a relevant evidence base for physicians who are dealing with a young adult male survivor with low borderline testosterone levels," the authors said. "We suggest in these patients that testosterone replacement should be considered in the context of other interventions to improve body composition."
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