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Br J Cancer. 1991 Nov;64(5):887-94.

Endocrine, pharmacokinetic and clinical studies of the aromatase inhibitor 3-ethyl-3-(4-pyridyl)piperidine-2,6-dione ('pyridoglutethimide') in postmenopausal breast cancer patients.

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Academic Department of Biochemistry, Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK.


The aromatase inhibitor, 'pyridoglutethimide' (PyG), has been shown previously to suppress serum oestrogen levels in postmenopausal breast cancer patients and to achieve clinical responses at a dose of 500 mg twice daily (b.d.). This report gives the results of a detailed pharmacokinetic and endocrine study of PyG in ten patients. Four doses were tested at intervals of 2 weeks in the following order: 200 mg b.d., 400 mg b.d., 800 mg b.d., 1200 mg b.d. Concentration-time profiles of serum levels of PyG were curvilinear in all patients probably reflecting a saturation of metabolic enzymes. During repeat-dosing metabolism was enhanced approximately 2-fold. Plasma levels of oestradiol were significantly suppressed by the lowest dose of PyG. Although higher doses appeared to achieve greater suppression this was not statistically significant in this small group of patients. There were no significant effects at any dose on the serum levels of cortisol, aldosterone, luteinising hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin, sex hormone binding globulin or thyroid stimulating hormone. There was a dose-related increase in 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone levels and a dose-related decrease in levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHAS). The androgens DHA, testosterone and androstenedione also were significantly suppressed with at least one of the doses of PyG. Synacthen tests did not support these changes being a result of inhibition of 17,20 lyase. It is possible that they are due to enhanced clearance of DHAS. Two patients experienced no toxicity throughout the study, whilst a total of four patients were withdrawn because of side-effects: one at 400 mg b.d., two at 800 mg b.d., and one at 1200 mg b.d. The most frequent side-effects were nausea and lethargy. One patient showed an objective response to treatment.

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