Estrogen & cholesterol
Oregon Health and Science University Cancer Institute (OHSU) researchers have revealed that a small adhesive estrogen patch worn by men being treated for advanced prostate cancer lowers cholesterol.
Men who have advanced prostate cancer are often treated with hormone deprivation therapy, which turns off testosterone to slow the growth of prostate cancer. Testosterone suppression is effective in controlling prostate cancer, but is associated with high cholesterol that may put men at greater risk for premature heart disease.
"Our data, while preliminary, suggest that estrogen skin patches counteract adverse effects of hormone therapy that raise cholesterol in men with prostate cancer," said Tomasz M. Beer, principal investigator of the study.
"We found that transdermal estrogen decreased overall cholesterol levels by 10 percent. The effect was even greater on LDL cholesterol while HDL, the 'good cholesterol,' was increased. Importantly, the patch estrogen did not cause triglyceride levels to rise, something that is common with oral estrogen preparations," Beer said.
Estrogen is known to induce testosterone suppression but it is associated with a high risk for blood clots that may involve both veins and arteries, and may include heart attacks. The OHSU group hypothesized that transdermal estrogen would be less likely to cause blood clots and preliminary analysis of their data support this premise.
"Given more study, estrogen skin patches may prove to be an alternative to common methods of hormone deprivation for prostate cancer as it provides testosterone suppression while improving cholesterol levels," concluded Beer.