The occasionally discussed, but not often used, alternative hormone therapy, transdermal estrogen might be ready to soon move on to a phase III trial. A poster presentation of a phase II trial showed that transdermal estrogen patches drove down testosterone and PSA levels to a similar extent as an LHRH analog. The poster presentation was offered by Ruth E. Langley, M.D., of the Medical Research Council in London and reported at the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

The really big news is that there were no worrisome adverse events experienced with the estrogen patches, as opposed to the myriad of negative side effects we experience with traditional LHRH analog therapies. Additionally, unlike conventional androgen deprivation therapy, the patches could help preserve bone mineral density, another prolem from lowering testosterone levels.

“These data demonstrate that estrogen patches produce a similar fall in testosterone to LHRH analogs and concomitant falls in PSA in patients with metastatic and locally advanced prostate cancer,” said Dr. Langley. “The patches have been generally well tolerated.”

Oral estrogen had been used as a hormonal therapy for prostate cancer in the 1960s. However, it was associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity so most doctors stopped using the estrogen as a therapy.

According to Dr. Langley, “The