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Urology. 1997 Nov;50(5):784-8.

Use of DHEA in a patient with advanced prostate cancer: a case report and review.

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  • 1Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, USA.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is being evaluated in the basic science laboratories as a potential treatment for adenocarcinomas, with some initial promise for success. However DHEA can be metabolically converted to androgenic compounds, possessing unwanted side effects. A patient with advanced prostate cancer with progressive symptomatology was treated with DHEA after other treatment regimens failed. Many of his symptoms improved on DHEA therapy, but his cancer also flared dramatically during treatment. His previous hormonally unresponsive cancer subsequently responded transiently to third-line hormonal therapy with diethylstilbestrol (DES). Adrenal precursor molecules such as DHEA may have significant therapeutic benefits in a number of diseases of the elderly, however their utility may be limited by potential androgenic side effects including endocrine epithelial cell growth. The development of analogue compounds with less conversion to androgenic metabolites should be considered, as molecules such as DHEA are more widely tested and utilized clinically.

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