Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alternative Hormone-blocker Reduces Side Effects In Prostate Cancer Patients

Date:
June 30, 2004
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
An alternative way of blocking androgen activity in prostate cancer patients produces fewer side effects and may be a better choice than standard hormone therapy for some patients.

An alternative way of blocking androgen activity in prostate cancer patients produces fewer side effects and may be a better choice than standard hormone therapy for some patients. In the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) describe how patients taking bicalutamide, which inhibits androgen activity by binding to the hormones' receptors, had improved bone density and reported fewer unpleasant side effects than did those taking leuprolide, a traditional form of hormone therapy that markedly lowers androgen levels.

"The differences between the two groups were dramatic; bone mineral density increased among men taking bicalutamide while men in the leuprolide group lost bone," says Matthew Smith, MD, PhD, of the MGH Cancer Center, who led the study.

Since the male hormones called androgens can accelerate the development of prostate cancer, reducing their activity is a standard part of treating the disease. Most commonly this is done with drugs like leuprolide, called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, that stop the body's production of all sex hormones. However, totally blocking hormone activity can lead to potentially serious side effects such as loss of bone density, which increases the risk of fractures. Earlier studies by this MGH research team also showed that GnRH-agonist treatment often leads to unwanted weight gain and increased body fat.

Because bicalutamide blocks androgen activity in a way that does not reduce hormone levels in the blood, the research team wanted to see if using a single-drug treatment plan might avoid or reduce side effects. Earlier research had shown that bicalutamide alone is as effective as GnRH agonists for men with locally advanced prostate cancer.

The investigators enrolled 51 men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer who were randomly assigned to receive either bicalutamide or leuprolide treatment for one year. Although the participants knew which treatment they received, since the drugs are adminstered differently, those who gathered and analyzed the study's data did not know which patients were in which group.

At the end of the study period, blood levels of testosterone and the female hormone estradiol had risen significantly in the bicalutamide group but fallen in those receiving leuprolide. Bone mineral density, which decreased in the leuprolide group, had increased in participants receiving bicalutamide. While both groups had increases in body fat and decreased lean body mass, those changes were more pronounced in those receiving leuprolide. And unpleasant side effects – such as hot flashes, fatigue and sexual effects – were reported less frequently in men taking bicalutamide.

"Bicalutamide monotherapy may be an attractive alternative to standard hormone therapy for some men with non-metastatic prostate cancer," says Smith, who is an assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. While bicalutamide is approved as monotherapy for prostate cancer in 55 countries, in the U.S. it is only approved in combination with GnRH-analog therapy.

###The study's co-authors are Melissa Goode, Anthony Zietman, MD, Francis McGovern, MD, Hang Lee, PhD, and Joel Finkelstein, MD, all of the MGH. The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and AstraZenaca, which markets bicalutamide under the brand name Casodex.

Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $400 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, cutaneous biology, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, transplantation biology and photomedicine. In 1994, MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital joined to form Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery system comprising the two academic medical centers, specialty and community hospitals, a network of physician groups, and nonacute and home health services. Additional information can be found at http://www.massgeneral.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "Alternative Hormone-blocker Reduces Side Effects In Prostate Cancer Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040629020214.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2004, June 30). Alternative Hormone-blocker Reduces Side Effects In Prostate Cancer Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040629020214.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Alternative Hormone-blocker Reduces Side Effects In Prostate Cancer Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040629020214.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins