Hypogonadism has been linked with systemic inflammation and opioid use in males with advanced cancer. We aimed to investigate the interaction of gonadal status with systemic inflammation and opioids in determining nutritional status and prognosis in advanced pancreatic cancer.
One hundred and seventy-five patients (92 males, 83 postmenopausal females) with unresectable pancreatic cancer were studied. Serum sex steroids (total testosterone [TT], calculated free testosterone [cFT], oestradiol, sex hormone binding globulin), gonadotropins (follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone) and pro-inflammatory mediators (C-reactive protein [CRP], interleukin-6 [IL-6], soluble tumour necrosis factor receptor 75 [sTNFR75]) were measured, and nutritional assessment and opioid use recorded.
Seventy-three percent of males were hypogonadal (by cFT definition). cFT correlated positively with BMI (r (2) = 0.349; p < 0.001) and grip strength (r (2) = 0.229; p = 0.034) and inversely with weight loss (r (2) = -0.287; p = 0.007), CRP (r (2) = -0.426; p < 0.001) and IL-6 (r (2) = -0.303; p = 0.004). CRP (p = 0.007), opioid dosage (p = 0.009) and BMI (p = 0.005) were independent determinants of cFT on ANOVA. Hypogonadal males demonstrated worsened survival compared with eugonadal patients (TT: OR of death = 2.87; p < 0.001; cFT: OR = 2.26; p = 0.011). Furthermore, male opioid use was associated with decreased TT (p < 0.001) and cFT (p < 0.001) and worsened survival (OR = 1.96; p = 0.012). In contrast, 18% of postmenopausal females exhibited premenopausal ("hyperoestrogenic") oestradiol levels. Oestradiol correlated positively with sTNFR75 (r (2) = 0.299; p = 0.008). CRP (p < 0.001) was an independent determinant of oestradiol. Hyperoestrogenic females demonstrated worsened survival compared with eugonadal patients (OR = 2.43; p = 0.013).
In males with pancreatic cancer, systemic inflammation and opioid use are associated with hypogonadism. Male hypogonadism and female hyperoestrogenism are associated with shortened survival in advanced pancreatic cancer.