05 March 2013
Skin patches which deliver oestrogen into the blood could be an "easy and safe" treatment for prostate cancer over current therapies, researchers say.
The main treatment for prostate cancer is injections of a chemical to cut levels of testosterone – which drives many prostate cancers – but it can cause side effects including osteoporosis, bone fractures and diabetes.
A team at Imperial College London compared skin patches and oestrogen injections in 254 patients and found patches were safe and should avoid menopause-like side effects.
After a year, the researchers also found that those having injections had higher blood glucose and cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease compared to patients treated with patches.
More than 40,000 men in the UK received a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2012, according to Cancer Research UK.
Dr Ruth Langley, study author from the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, said: "These promising new findings suggest that we might be able to use oestrogen patches or an oestrogen gel to treat prostate cancer without significantly increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke."
The initial trial has now been extended to look at 660 men to determine the long-term effectiveness and side effects of oestrogen patches.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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