Estradiol suppresses tissue androgens and prostate cancer growth in castration resistant prostate cancer

Bruce Montgomery, Peter S. Nelson, Robert Vessella, Tom Kalhorn, David Hess, Eva Corey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: Estrogens suppress tumor growth in prostate cancer which progresses despite anorchid serum androgen levels, termed castration resistant prostate cancers (CRPC), although the mechanisms are unclear. We hypothesize that estrogen inhibits CRPC in anorchid animals by suppressing tumoral androgens, an effect independent of the estrogen receptor.Methods: The human CRPC xenograft LuCaP 35V was implanted into orchiectomized male SCID mice and established tumors were treated with placebo, 17β-estradiol or 17β-estradiol and estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780. Effects of 17β-estradiol on tumor growth were evaluated and tissue testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) evaluated by mass spectrometry.Results: Treatment of LuCaP 35V with 17β-estradiol slowed tumor growth compared to controls (tumor volume at day 21: 785 ± 81 mm3 vs. 1195 ± 84 mm3, p = 0.002). Survival was also significantly improved in animals treated with 17β-estradiol (p = 0.03). The addition of the estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780 did not significantly change survival or growth. 17β-estradiol in the presence and absence of ICI 182,780 suppressed tumor testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) as assayed by mass spectrometry. Tissue androgens in placebo treated LuCaP 35V xenografts were; T = 0.71 ± 0.28 pg/mg and DHT = 1.73 ± 0.36 pg/mg. In 17β-estradiol treated LuCaP35V xenografts the tissue androgens were, T = 0.20 ± 0.10 pg/mg and DHT = 0.15 ± 0.15 pg/mg, (p < 0.001 vs. controls). Levels of T and DHT in control liver tissue were < 0.2 pg/mg.Conclusions: CRPC in anorchid animals maintains tumoral androgen levels despite castration. 17β-estradiol significantly suppressed tumor T and DHT and inhibits growth of CRPC in an estrogen receptor independent manner. The ability to manipulate tumoral androgens will be critical in the development and testing of agents targeting CRPC through tissue steroidogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number244
JournalBMC cancer
StatePublished - May 28 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Estradiol suppresses tissue androgens and prostate cancer growth in castration resistant prostate cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this