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J Urol. 2002 Feb;167(2 Pt 1):535-8.

Diethylstilbesterol revisited: androgen deprivation, osteoporosis and prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, The New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.



It is well described in the urological literature that androgen deprivation can result in accelerated bone breakdown and osteoporosis. Therefore, we evaluate the degree of bone breakdown in patients on conventional androgen deprivation with those on diethylstilbesterol alone or in conjunction with luteinizing hormone releasing hormone agonists or orchiectomy.


During an 18-month period a total of 54 patients with clinically localized prostate cancer and 24 with benign prostatic hyperplasia were evaluated. All patients with prostate cancer were either treated with external beam radiotherapy without androgen deprivation or were started on androgen deprivation therapy. All patients were prospectively followed and evaluated for serum testosterone and estradiol along with urinary collagen type I cross-linked N-telopeptides. Three separate morning urine samples on 3 separate months were collected on each patient and analyzed for N-telopeptides. To correct for different levels of renal function, all N-telopeptides were measured as a ratio of urinary N-telopeptides/urine creatinine. All patients with any bone or skeletal abnormalities were excluded from study as were those with osseous metastatic disease.


There was a statistically significant (p < 0.05) higher level of urinary N-telopeptides/creatinine in patients on androgen deprivation therapy who were not treated with diethylstilbesterol. The estrogenic effect of diethylstilbesterol protects one from bone resorption. Patients on diethylstilbesterol did not have any higher levels of bone breakdown than patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia or those who never received any androgen deprivation.


Rapid bone turnover and resorption can be prevented with 1 mg. diethylstilbesterol alone or in conjunction with other modes of androgen deprivation. Therefore, diethylstilbesterol should be considered as monotherpy in men who require long-term antiandrogen therapy.

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