CogCan: understanding why thinking skills may change after androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer

What you need to know

  • Some men on hormone therapy, or androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), report changes to their attention and memory.
  • We’re funding Professor Beth Grunfeld to conduct a clinical study, CogCan, to understand more about why men could experience these changes, so clinicians can work out who might be at risk in the future.
  • Professor Grunfeld’s trial is open for recruitment now for men with prostate cancer who have not yet been treated with ADT.
We want to understand who could be affected by changes to their attention or memory after hormone therapy. The men who take part are helping us answer this important question, and helping future generations of men affected by these side effects.
Professor Beth Grunfeld, Chief Investigator of CogCan

What they want to find out

Some men on hormone therapy, or androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), to treat their advanced prostate cancer report changes to their attention and memory. However, it’s not clear whether hormone therapy is directly responsible for these changes. For example, feeling tired, stressed or anxious can all affect your memory and ability to concentrate, and these changes can also happen as you get older.

We’re funding Professor Grunfeld to delve into this, to try and understand if hormone therapy could be responsible in-part for some of the changes in memory and attention men experience. In her study CogCan, she’s comparing memory, attention, and other indicators of brain function in men who are having hormone therapy against those who aren’t.  She’ll work out how many men these changes affect, and whether hormone therapy has a part to play.

How they’re doing it

Professor Grunfeld at Birkbeck, University of London, will be comparing the brain function, using MRI scans, tests and questionnaires, of men who are taking ADT for their prostate cancer, against those who aren’t. If there is a difference in brain function between these two groups, it will suggest that ADT could be the cause. She’ll also take blood samples from each group of men to work out if there’s any clues that can be used to work out which men might be more likely to experience these side effects.

Progress so far

So far, Professor Grunfeld and the team have started to recruit men for the study, and have successfully collected data on about half the participants they need for the study. Now, they’re continuing to focus on recruiting the remaining half of men to both the ADT and non-ADT arms of the trial.

How to get involved with this trial

This trial is still looking for men to take part. You can read the information below to see if you may be suitable to take part in this study, and contact your medical team for full details on whether you can take part.

If you’d like support with deciding whether taking part in a clinical trial is right for you, you can speak to your medical team or contact our Specialist Nurses on 0800 074 8383.

Who can take part

The researchers are looking for participants for both the ADT arm and non-ADT arm of the trial. You can still sign up for the trial even if you haven’t decided whether or not ADT is the right treatment for you.

Who can’t take part

You would not be eligible to take part if you have:

  • Already been receiving ADT for more than 4 weeks
  • A history or stroke, epilepsy or benign prostate tumour
  • Ever been treated with a systemic cancer treatment which may have affected your brain function
  • A neurodegenerative condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Contact your medical team for full inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Where the trial is taking place

To take part in the trial you must be prepared to travel to Birmingham where the scanning and testing is taking place. The research team can cover travel expenses and over-night stays in some cases.

Contact your medical team for a list of sites you can join this trial. 

We try to keep this information as up to date as possible, but there may be times when study details have changed and we haven’t updated our web information. Speak to your medical team, or our Specialist Nurses, for the most up to date information on prostate cancer clinical studies.

Grant information

Researcher - Professor Elizabeth Grunfeld
Institution - Birkbeck, University of London
Grant award - £505,853.00
Reference - PG14-016