Influence of radical prostatectomy on serum hormone levels

Leslie R. Miller, Alan W. Partin, Daniel W. Chan, Debra J. Bruzek, Adrian S. Dobs, Jonathan I. Epstein, Patrick C. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Purpose: The influence of radical prostatectomy on the hypothalamic pituitary axis has not been well studied. It is also unclear how alterations in serum androgen levels that result from surgical removal of the prostate might influence the recovery of libido and sexual function following radical prostatectomy. We determined the influence of radical prostatectomy on the hypothalamic pituitary testicular axis of 63 men with clinically localized prostate cancer treated only with radical prostatectomy. Materials and Methods: A total of 63 healthy men 43 to 67 years old were enrolled in this prospective study. Phlebotomy was performed immediately before and 1 year following radical retropubic prostatectomy. Sera were stored frozen and analyzed as a group at the end of the study. We measured serum testosterone, percent free testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), estradiol, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), sex hormone binding globulin and prolactin. Results: Following radical prostatectomy there was a statistically significant increase in serum testosterone, free testosterone, estradiol, LH and FSH (p<0.0001), and statistically significant decrease in serum DHT (p<0.0001). No difference was noted in serum sex hormone binding globulin or prolactin levels. There was no statistically significant correlation between any serum hormone and sample storage time, patient age or prostate volume that could limit potential bias in study design. Serum hormone changes did not correlate with pathological stage or histological grade for this group of patients. Conclusions: Radical prostatectomy influences the hypothalamic pituitary axis by increasing serum testosterone, percent free testosterone, estradiol, LH and FSH while decreasing serum DHT levels. These findings suggest that the sexual dysfunction associated with radical prostatectomy cannot be explained by androgen deficiency alone. These data further suggest that the normal prostate and/or prostate neoplasm could secrete a substance or substances that give negative feedback control to pituitary gonadotropin secretion. Further investigation is warranted to identify this substance or substances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-453
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • Gonadotropins
  • Hormones
  • Prostate-specific antigen
  • Prostatectomy
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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