Current Oncology Reports

, 16:378

When and When Not To Use Testosterone for Palliation in Cancer Care

Palliative Medicine (A Jatoi, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11912-014-0378-0

Cite this article as:
Dev, R., Bruera, E. & Del Fabbro, E. Curr Oncol Rep (2014) 16: 378. doi:10.1007/s11912-014-0378-0
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Palliative Medicine


Hypogonadism is common throughout the illness trajectory of patients with cancer. About two thirds of male patients with advanced cancer have hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal dysfunction and low testosterone levels. Chronic inflammation, comorbidities, cachexia, chemotherapy, and medications such as opioids, megestrol acetate, and corticosteroids contribute to primary and secondary hypogonadism. Studies have reported increased symptom burden, diminished quality of life, and poor prognosis associated with low testosterone levels in males with cancer. The Endocrine Society has published clinical practice guidelines for replacing testosterone in symptomatic patients with chronic illness and in patients receiving opioids; however, the role of testosterone therapy specifically in patients with cancer is not addressed. This review explores the potential benefits and limitations of testosterone replacement on the basis of current evidence.


HypogonadismCancerTestosteroneEndocrinePalliative medicineOncologyTestosterone replacementLow testosteroneLow testosterone, malesLow testosterone, cancerMales with cancerChemotherapyOpioidsGonadal dysfunctionHypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal dysfunctionTestosterone replacement, LimitationsSymptom managementAdvanced cancerQuality of life

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation MedicineThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care, Massey Cancer CenterVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA