Testosterone therapy and cancer risks among men in the SEER-Medicare linked database

Eboneé N. Butler, Cindy Ke Zhou, Michael Curry, Úna McMenamin, Christopher Cardwell, Marie C. Bradley, Barry I. Graubard, Michael B. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We examined associations between two forms of testosterone therapy (TT) and risks of seven cancers among men.

SEER-Medicare combines cancer registry data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results programme with Medicare claims. Our population-based case–control study included incident cancer cases diagnosed between 1992–2015: prostate (n = 130,713), lung (n = 105,466), colorectal (n = 56,433), bladder (n = 38,873), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 17,854), melanoma (n = 14,241), and oesophageal (n = 9116). We selected 100,000 controls from a 5% random sample of Medicare beneficiaries and used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

TT was associated with lower risk of distant-stage prostate cancer (injection/implantation OR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.60–0.86; topical OR = 0.50, 95% CI: 0.24–1.03). We also observed inverse associations for distant-stage colorectal cancer (injection/implantation OR = 0.75, 95% CI: 0.62–0.90; topical OR = 0.11, 95% CI: 0.05–0.24). Risks of distant-stage colorectal and prostate cancers decreased with time after initiating TT by injection/implantation. By contrast, TT was positively associated with distant-stage melanoma (injection/implantation OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.37–2.11). TT was not associated with bladder cancer, oesophageal cancer, lung cancer or non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

TT was inversely associated with distant-stage prostate and colorectal cancers but was positively associated with distant-stage melanoma. These observations may suggest an aetiologic role for TT or the presence of residual confounding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Early online date28 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2023


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