ZEIST, The Netherlands—Specialty pharmaceutical companyPantarhei Bioscience has seen preliminary success in the testing of human fetalestrogen Esterol (E4), which was being studied in the prevention andsuppression of tumor growth in an in-vivomammary tumor model. The company announced this week that it has published itsresults in the Journal of Hormone Molecular Biology and ClinicalInvestigation, noting that E4 was seen todemonstrate and estrogen antagonistic effect on breast tumor tissue. The companyis developing the compound for a variety of women's health applications,including oral contraception, osteoporosis, menstrual migraine and estrogenhormone-sensitive cancers.
"Our results in the DMBA rat model for mammary tumour growthshow that E4 prevents tumor initiation by DMBA and inhibits the growth ofexisting DMBA-induced tumors" Monique Visser, PhD., program director Esterol atPantarhei Bioscience and principal scientist of the project.
Prof. Herjan Coelingh Bennink, MD, PhD., gynecologist andfounder and CEO of Pantarhei Bioscience, noted that aromatase inhibitors arethe current standard treatment for breast cancer, but their side effectsinclude "arthralgia (joint pain), frequent hot flushes and sweatings,interference with cognition, bone loss and fractures." All of the side effectsresult from estrogen deficiency caused by aromatase inhibitors (AIs), andBennink said that up to 50 percent of patients discontinue treatment with theinhibitors as a result.
"The unique properties of E4 with estrogenic effects onorgans such as the vagina, the joints, bone and the brain and estrogenantagonistic effects on the breast, makes E4 potentially suitable forestrogenic add-back therapy to counteract the side effects of the AIs, withoutstimulating the growth of breast tumors," said Bennink, adding that "theprofile of E4 suggests that the use of E4 in oral contraception, HRT and otherapplications may not increase the risk of breast cancer."
The researchers will go on to test the hypothesis that E4can be used as an estrogenic add-back therapy without the risk of breast tumorgrowth, Bennink noted, in a multi-center clinical study in women with breast cancer.
SOURCE: Pantarhei Bioscience