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Aminoglutethimide is effective in the treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal patients as a result of its inhibition of aromatase. Its use is complicated by a number of endocrine side-effects which include the inhibition of thyroxine synthesis and inhibition of 11-steroid and 21-steroid hydroxylases. When aminoglutethimide is used at the conventional daily dose of 1000 mg in combination with 40 mg of hydrocortisone these effects can result in clinically significant hypothyroidism and increases in the serum levels of oestrone in response to stimulation of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In the current study it was found that with twice daily treatment at the low dose of 125 mg aminoglutethimide plus 20 mg hydrocortisone there was no significant increase in oestrone levels after ACTH stimulation. In addition there was little effect on thyroid function: serum levels of triiodothyronine and thyroxine were unaffected whilst there was a marginally significant (P less than 0.05) increase in thyroid-levels were confined to those patients with pretreatment values greater than 2.5 mU/L, the most marked effect being in 1 patient whose pretreatment level was already outside the normal range.


Journal article


Eur J Cancer

Publication Date





846 - 849


17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, Aminoglutethimide, Androstenedione, Breast Neoplasms, Estrone, Female, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Hydroxyprogesterones, Menopause, Middle Aged, Thyroxine, Triiodothyronine