Monday June 30, 2014 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new trial by doctors in Hospital Santa Maria Nuova-IRCCS in Reggio Emilia, Italy suggests that testosterone can be used as a therapeutic agent to treat hormone-responsive breast cancer, particularly in those whose previous hormone therapies have no longer had any effect against the disease.

The study shows that 58.5% patients with metastatic breast cancer whose diseases were initially responsive to hormone therapies, but had become resistant and the diseases were progressing, were responsive to the treatment with testosterone propionate.

As a result of the testosterone therapy, 17.5% patients were in regression and 41.5% had the disease stabilized although progression was observed in the remaining 41.5% patients. The median overall survival was 12 months from the start of testosterone therapy.

The 53 patients participating in the trial suffered metastatic breast cancer whose prior hormone therapies no longer worked to stop the disease from progressing. In the study, testosterone propionate in a dose of 250 mg once every two weeks, twice, and then once every four weeks until the breast cancer progressed, drug toxicity appeared or death occurred.

In terms of side effects, hirsutism and dysphonia were observed occasionally, but not severe enough to mandate withdrawal of treatment. No major toxicity was observed except that two patients developed non-fatal pulmonary emboli.

In the past, testosterone was the most commonly used hormonal therapy to treat this disease, but for whatever reason, its use has been almost completely abandoned in the past 40 years, according to a study report.

"Testosterone showed a significant therapeutic activity in previously hormone-treated patients with metastatic breast cancer who were no longer responding to such treatment and whose disease was progressing. These results warrant consideration of testosterone use as treatment for patients with hormone-sensitive metastatic breast cancer," the study concluded. (David Liu, PHD)

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