Skip to main content Skip to footer

CogCan: Risk and Resilience Factors Associated with Cognitive Changes Following Androgen Deprivation Therapy in Prostate Cancer Patients


Prostate Cancer UK




Coventry University, University of Birmingham; King’s College London; University Hospitals Birmingham

Project team

  • Professor Beth Grunfeld
  • Pernille Woods
  • Kirsty Hall (University of Birmingham)
  • Dr. Amanda Wood (University of Birmingham)
  • Dr. Qazi Rahman (King’s College London)
  • Dr. Anjali Zarkar (University Hospitals Birmingham)

General information

Prostate cancer survivors receiving longterm androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) sometimes experience unpleasant and debilitating side-effects, including decline in some thinking abilities. Prostate cancer patients are being observed to help us understand the factors that contribute to the risk of developing these effects on thinking – or the ability to resist them.

Project objectives

The aim of this project is to identify which thinking skills are affected by androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and whether some people are more at risk of decline in thinking skills performance. This will be done by following patients who do and who do not receive ADT for an 18 month period. This is an innovative project combining: (1) cognitive testing (tests of thinking skills such as memory), (2) psychosocial measures (e.g. mood, fatigue), (3) brain imaging and (4) blood biomarkers (to assess testosterone levels and genetic risk of cognitive decline).

The study will allow us to record potential risk factors prior to starting ADT to identify baseline factors that predict performance on tasks at follow-up. The study offers a unique opportunity to develop a risk profile for cognitive decline (changes in thinking skill) in men receiving ADT that could be used by treating doctors.

Research impact

Currently, we do not have a clear understanding of the factors that might make patients receiving ADT more at risk to changes in thinking skills (for example, age-related brain changes), or whether there are protective factors that might make a person more resilient to these changes (for example, good psychosocial status). By providing this information, our study would offer men and their prescribing doctors evidence-based information to support decision-making. It would also allow us to develop specific, focused interventions to mitigate the impact of changes in thinking skills on everyday functioning (for example, through strategies to improve memory or aid planning skills).

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023