Orchidectomy and oestrogen therapy revisited

P Iversen

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Over the past 20 years therapeutic options for prostate cancer have increased. Nevertheless, there may still be a role for long-established treatments such as orchidectomy and oestrogens. Orchidectomy is a simple surgical procedure, and patient survival is comparable with other treatments involving androgen ablation. However, loss of libido and sexual function is an expected outcome and hot flushes occur in about 50% of patients. Osteoporosis, loss of muscle mass, and the psychological impact associated with orchidectomy are of concern, particularly with increasing treatment periods. Nevertheless, orchidectomy is indicated when an immediate reduction of testosterone levels is required, or the patient does not comply with other treatments or objects to the cost of medical therapy. Oestrogen therapy may be superior to castration in terms of efficacy, but orally administered oestrogens are associated with gynaecomastia, loss of sexual function and unacceptable cardiovascular toxicity. Low dose oestrogens in combination with antiandrogens or antithrombotic agents may be better tolerated treatments. The route of administration is a crucial factor in the genesis of cardiovascular toxicity and parenterally administered oestrogens may not entail the same risk. Further research in this area is warranted.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Urology
    Volume34 Suppl 3
    Pages (from-to)7-11
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


    • Androgen Antagonists
    • Antineoplastic Agents
    • Cardiovascular Diseases
    • Combined Modality Therapy
    • Estrogens
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Orchiectomy
    • Prostatic Neoplasms


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