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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2009 Jan;113(1-2):52-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.11.004. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

Comparable amounts of sex steroids are made outside the gonads in men and women: strong lesson for hormone therapy of prostate and breast cancer.

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  • 1Molecular Endocrinology and Oncology Research Center, Laval University Hospital Research Center (CRCHUL) 2705, Laurier Boulevard, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada G1V 4G2. fernand.labrie@crchul.ulaval.ca


The objective of this study was comparison of circulating androgens and their metabolites as well as estrogens measured for the first time by a validated mass spectrometry technology in 60-80-year-old men and women of comparable age. Castration in men (n=34) reduces the total androgen pool by only about 60% as indicated by the decrease in the serum levels of the glucuronide metabolites of androgens compared to intact men (n=1302). Such data are in agreement with the 50 to 75% decrease in intraprostatic dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentration after castration. Most interestingly, the same amounts of androgens and estrogens are found in postmenopausal women (n=369) and castrated men of comparable age. The most significant therapeutic implication of these findings is the absolute need to add a pure (nonsteroidal) antiandrogen to castration in men with prostate cancer in order to block the action of the 25 to 50% DHT left in the prostate after castration. Not adding an antiandrogen to castration in men treated for prostate cancer is equivalent to not prescribing a blocker of estrogens in women suffering from breast cancer because they are postmenopausal and have low circulating estradiol.

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