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Nandrolone decanoate added to tamoxifen in the treatment of advanced breast cancer


Since 1980 we have been carrying out a prospective randomized trial comparing tamoxifen with the combination of tamoxifen plus nandrolone decanoate in advanced breast cancer. The tamoxifen dose is 30 mg daily and the nandrolone decanoate dose 100 mg i.m. once a week for four weeks and thereafter every other week. 98 post-menopausal patients have been evaluated for the response. The number of patients is 49 in both groups.

The overall response rates (CR +PR) to tamoxifen and tamoxifen plus nandrolone decanoate were not significantly different; in the tamoxifen group the response rate was 49% and in the combination group 45%. The mean time to progression in tamoxifen group is over 13 months and in tamoxifen plus nandrolone decanoate group over 12 months. Our results do not suggest a synergistic effect from combining tamoxifen and nandrolone decanoate treatments. The response rates to tamoxifen at different sites of metastases were as follows: bones 47%, soft tissues 56%, and viscera 48%. The respective figures with the combination therapy were 36%, 64%, and 40%.

Both treatments were well tolerated and in no patient was withdrawal of the therapy necessary. Mild virilization and hoarseness were experienced by all patients treated with nandrolone decanoate. Side-effects associated with tamoxifen were rare, although five patients experienced nausea and two had hot flushes.

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Heinonen, E., Alanko, A., Gröhn, P. et al. Nandrolone decanoate added to tamoxifen in the treatment of advanced breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Tr 5, 75–80 (1985).

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  • androgen treatment
  • breast cancer
  • hormone receptors
  • nandrolone decanoate
  • tamoxifen