• hormone-resistant prostate cancer;
  • diethylstilbestrol;
  • progression;
  • PSA;
  • low molecular weight heparin;
  • androgen deprivation therapy

What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) has been found to have anti-tumour properties and clinical effectiveness in prostate cancer that is resistant to the first-line hormonal therapy.

This review found that low-dose DES has anti-tumour efficacy with limited cardiovascular side effects and should be considered for secondary hormone manoeuvres.

The aim of this review was to describe the most recent data from contemporary clinical trials of diethylstilbestrol (DES) to better determine its current role in advanced prostate cancer treatment as new hormonal therapies emerge. Relevant clinical studies using 1 mg of DES in castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) were identified from the literature, clinical trial databases, websites and conference abstracts. The efficacy and safety outcomes were summarized. DES in CRPC produced a biological response (change in PSA level) and improved the median survival of patients when used as a second-line hormone therapy after standard androgen deprivation with bicalutamide and LHRH analogues. These findings were for low doses of DES. The 1-mg dose is associated with a reduced toxicity, including fewer thromboembolic and cardiovascular events. Low-dose DES appears to be safe and effective for CRPC before initiating chemotherapy. The cost/efficiency ratio may encourage physicians to consider DES as a therapy option before chemotherapy in non-symptomatic CRPC.