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Am J Surg. 1991 Apr;161(4):416-21.

Testolactone, sulindac, warfarin, and vitamin K1 for unresectable desmoid tumors.

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Department of Surgery, University of Arizona, Tucson.


Ten patients with large inoperable desmoid tumors in various body locations were treated with testolactone. Four tumors (40%) responded with major regressions, i.e., more than 50% reduction in volume. Eight patients received nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (indomethacin, sulindac, or sulindac with warfarin and vitamin K1 [Mephyton]) for periods of 2 to 91 months. There was one major regression, one partial regression, and three instances of tumor growth arrest over periods up to 8 years. Seven patients were treated with nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs concurrent with or after testolactone or tamoxifen. There were five major regressions and one partial regression with extensive central necrosis of an enormous intra-abdominal tumor. The last patient has been treated for only 12 months, with no change in tumor volume. It appears that estrogens function as growth factors for desmoid tumors, and that minimization of these effects inhibits tumor growth in some, but not all, cases. In those instances where antiestrogens were not effective as single agents, the tumors usually responded to subsequent nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug therapy. Withdrawal of estrogen may be followed by inhibition of transcription of genes that support tumor cell proliferation, and sulindac and indomethacin may augment these effects by inhibiting prostaglandin and cyclic AMP synthesis and the activity of protein kinase C. Warfarin may function as a protonophore to acidify the cytoplasm and prevent the alkalinization that is necessary to initiate DNA synthesis and cell cycle progression, again an impairment of the transcription process.

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