A recent case of a 51 year old male with an interest in testosterone replacement illustrates the benefits of the multi-parametric prostate MRI scan. Noting a PSA value of only ng/ml; the digital rectal exam (DRE) identified an area of interest on the left side, albeit, it was not definitive for prostate cancer. Neither the gray scale ultrasound nor Color Flow Doppler ultrasound evaluation suggested any specific abnormality consistent with the area of interest previously identified on DRE. An MRI scan was suggested as the next best step in the evaluation. The scan isolated a region of interest on the left side at the Apex to Middle portion of the prostate gland concordant with the findings on the DRE. Based upon the findings of the MRI scan, a targeted biopsy with 6 needle cores was recommended and implemented. An Antiandrogen was initiated pre-biopsy to mitigate against “needle tracking”. Specifically, an Antiandrogen selectively blocks the receptor on the prostate cell from attracting testosterone as it exits the capsule, thereby, disabling the cells in preparation for cell death or apoptosis. The Pathology evaluation revealed a grade of cancer that was amenable to being treated conservatively or focally. In this case, the failure to use a MRI scan would have exposed this patient to the possibility of missing the cancer altogether; associated with sampling bias, a very real possibility for needle tracking (assuming cancer was found), or worse yet, the go ahead to supplement with testosterone, when in fact, the cancer was missed. Using testosterone in this scenario would have stimulated cancer cells to grow wildly, while causing the PSA to spike abnormally, thereby, making the diagnosis of prostate cancer – a potentially uncontrollable clinical event, albeit, avoidable. Given the expertise of a Urolologic consultation, this case turned out well. The patient is now contemplating a focal treatment with high intensity focused ultrasound with a plan to supplement with testosterone once his cancer has been cured. An inability to document the resolution of prostate cancer by a repeat MRI scan and/or a stable PSA post-operatively will preclude this patient from using testosterone replacement therapy.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone produced by the testes, which the body naturally uses to help the growth of testes, body hair, muscles, bones, voice deepening, and sexual maturation during pubescent years, ages nine to 14. Women have been injecting testosterone to increase their sex drive and accumulation of muscle mass for years, but there are many physical signs of testosterone injectors. Supplementing testosterone by injections to increase athletic performance is harmful and comes with many side effects for both genders. Tablets, however, could provide entirely useful medical benefits.
Testosterone, like many anabolic steroids, was classified as a controlled substance in 1991. Testosterone is administered parenterally in normal and delayed-release (depot) forms. In September 1995, the FDA approved testosterone transdermal patches (Androderm), and many transdermal forms and brands are now available including implants, gels, and topical solutions. A testosterone buccal system, Striant, was FDA-approved in July 2003; Striant is a mucoadhesive product that adheres to the buccal mucosa and provides a controlled and sustained release of testosterone. In May 2014, the FDA approved an intranasal gel formulation of testosterone (Natesto). A transdermal patch (Intrinsa) for hormone replacement in women is under investigation; the daily dosages used in women are much lower than for products used in males. The FDA refused approval for Intrinsa in 2004 stating that more data regarding safety, especially in relation to cardiovascular and breast health, were required.