Papers And Originals

Effect of Hormonal Therapy on Plasma Testosterone Levels in Prostatic Carcinoma

Br Med J 1971; 4 doi: (Published 13 November 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;4:391
  1. M. R. G. Robinson,
  2. B. S. Thomas


    Plasma concentrations of testosterone were estimated in normal men, in patients before treatment for prostatic cancer, and in patients who had had various forms of endocrine treatment for prostatic carcinoma. There was no decline in plasma testosterone levels with age. Patients with non-metastatic disease had levels similar to those of normal controls, but in advanced metastatic disease the levels were low. After orchidectomy the plasma testosterone level fell to that found in normal women. In every patient stilboestrol in doses as small as 1 mg three times a day suppressed plasma testosterone at first to negligible amounts, irrespective of the clinical response. Subsequently a small but significant rise in the concentration was always observed over a period of six months' oestrogen therapy. Pituitary ablation with yttrium-90 lowered the plasma testosterone concentration again to negligible amounts in patients who had been on stilboestrol. In advanced metastatic disease this was often associated with relief of pain. Preliminary studies with aminoglutethimide indicate that it can produce biochemical and clinical effects similar to those of pituitary ablation.