Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Intermittent versus continuous androgen deprivation for locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Tobias Engel Ayer Botrel12*, Otávio Clark12, Rodolfo Borges dos Reis2, Antônio Carlos Lima Pompeo2, Ubirajara Ferreira2, Marcus Vinicius Sadi2 and Francisco Flávio Horta Bretas2

Author Affiliations

1 Evidencias Scientific Credibility, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil

2 Comitê Brasileiro de Estudos em Uro-Oncologia (CoBEU), São Paulo, Brazil

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Urology 2014, 14:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-14-9

Published: 25 January 2014



Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in older men in the United States (USA) and Western Europe. Androgen deprivation (AD) constitutes, in most cases, the first-line of treatment for these cases. The negative impact of CAD in quality of life, secondary to the adverse events of sustained hormone deprivation, plus the costs of this therapy, motivated the intermittent treatment approach. The objective of this study is to to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of all randomized controlled trials that compared the efficacy and adverse events profile of intermittent versus continuous androgen deprivation for locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer.


Several databases were searched, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, and CENTRAL. The endpoints were overall survival (OS), cancer-specific survival (CSS), time to progression (TTP) and adverse events. We performed a meta-analysis (MA) of the published data. The results were expressed as Hazard Ratio (HR) or Risk Ratio (RR), with their corresponding 95% Confidence Intervals (CI 95%).


The final analysis included 13 trials comprising 6,419 patients with hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. TTP was similar in patients who received intermittent androgen deprivation (IAD) or continuous androgen deprivation (CAD) (fixed effect: HR = 1.04; CI 95% = 0.96 to 1.14; p = 0.3). OS and CSS were also similar in patients treated with IAD or CAD (OS: fixed effect: HR = 1.02; CI 95% = 0.95 to 1.09; p = 0.56 and CSS: fixed effect: HR = 1.06; CI 95% = 0.96 to 1.18; p = 0.26).


Overall survival was similar between IAD and CAD in patients with locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. Data on CSS are weak and the benefits of IAD on this outcome remain uncertain. Impact in QoL was similar for both groups, however, sexual activity scores were higher and the incidence of hot flushes was lower in patients treated with IAD.

Androgen deprivation; Prostate cancer; Systematic review