Antiprogestins, a new form of endocrine therapy for human breast cancer

Published on Sunday, 15 September 2013


The antitumor, endocrine, hematological, biochemical, and side effects of chronic second-line treatment with the antiprogestin mifepristone (RU) 486) were investigated in 11 postmenopausal patients with metastatic breast cancer.

We observed one objective response, 6 instances of short-term stable disease, and 4 instances of progressive disease.

Mean plasma concentrations of adrenocorticotropic hormone (P less than 0.05), cortisol (P less than 0.001), androstenedione (P less than 0.01), and estradiol (P less than 0.002) increased significantly during treatment accompanied by a slight decrease of sex hormone binding globulin levels, while basal and stimulated gonadotropin levels did not change significantly. The increased basal cortisol levels could not be further stimulated by synacthen, nor suppressed by 1 mg of dexamethasone. Plasma estradiol concentrations were significantly correlated with both androstenedione (P less than 0.05) and cortisol levels (P less than 0.01).

The percentage of eosinophilic white blood cells (P less than 0.02) and mean plasma creatinine concentration (P less than 0.05) increased significantly. Side effects frequently occurred during long-term treatment and appeared to be caused mainly by the antiglucocorticoid properties of the drug. It is concluded that antiprogestins form a new treatment modality in the endocrine treatment of human breast cancer.

New antiprogestins with less antiglucocorticoid side effects might be especially of value as an adjunct to antiestrogenic treatment in view of our finding that combined antiestrogenic and antiprogestational treatment caused additive growth-inhibitory effects in rat mammary tumors.



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