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Estetrol - The Forgotten Steroid is a New Drug For Treatment in Advanced Prostate Cancer

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  • Estetrol is a steroid obtained from the human fetal liver during pregnancy.
  • A newly developed E4 drug is found to show promise in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.
  • The drug is found to be safe, effective and an affordable option when compared to current cancer therapies.

Estetrol - The Forgotten Steroid is a New Drug For Treatment in Advanced Prostate Cancer

A natural fetal estrogen (Estetrol) called E4 drug has been tested as a new drug which may help to treat advanced prostate cancer, finds an ongoing study from the Netherlands.

The study results were presented as a poster at the annual scientific meeting of the Endocrine Society, in Orlando, Fla.


Ellen Dutman, M.Sc., clinical research associate at Pantarhei Oncology BV in Zeist, the Netherlands, said, "E4 for the treatment of prostate cancer would offer a new and affordable option compared to current standard and new therapies. An important advantage of E4 is expected to be the avoidance of the hypoestrogenic side effects that occur with other types of testosterone-suppressing hormone therapy, including hot flushes and sweating, arthralgia, mood, sleep and cognition disturbances, and bone loss and fractures."

She added, that the treatment with E4 drug may not be so expensive as that of the recently developed prostate cancer therapies.

Research Study
The research team conducted a double-blind, randomized study along with a placebo drug in 45 healthy male volunteers who were between 40 and 70 years of age.

The volunteers were divided into 3 groups with each group consisting of 15 members. Out of the 15, about 10 received the E4 drug and 5 received placebo for 28 days.

The first group members received a daily dose of 20mg of E4 drug. When it was considered to be safe, the 10 members in the second group received a dose of 40mg of E4 drug; this dose was also considered to be safe and the third group received a dose of 60mg of E4 drug.

Study Findings

The findings of the study revealed that:
  • The total and free testosterone levels decreased with 20mg E4, 40mg E4 and 60mg E4 drug respectively
  • The levels of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol (E2) hormone were also found to decline
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) levels remained steady
  • Increased Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels.
The study found that all the three doses were well tolerated. There were no marked changes in body weight and safety parameters. However, there was a decreased sex drive (libido) and tenderness in the breast.

Dutman, said, "We expect that in the future, patients with advanced prostate cancer will have the opportunity to choose to be treated with E4, especially in combination with their current therapy."

"The addition of E4 will further improve the efficacy of their current therapy and have a positive impact on the quality of life of the patients."

Estetrol Drug (E4 drug)

E4 drug is a steroid which is produced by the human fetal liver only during pregnancy.

The drug is being developed by the Pantarhei Oncology for the treatment of advanced breast cancer. The Mithra Pharmaceuticals in Belgium has also been developing E4 drug for contraception and menopausal hormone therapy in women.

The author also stated that the drug is a potential candidate to be used for the treatment of prostate cancer as a single entity or as a combination treatment with hormone therapy.

Interesting Facts
  • Estetrol was discovered by Diczfalusy in 1965 at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
  • E4 can be detected from the ninth week of pregnancy.
  • Estetrol is a natural human steroid which reaches the maternal blood circulation through the placenta.
  • Estetrol drug will be effective and safe without any side effects for a period of 28 days.
References :
  1. Estetrol (E4), the forgotten fetal steroid - (http://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0014/ea0014S16.2.htm)

Source: Medindia

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