Background: Estrogen administration is known to increase serum triglyceride concentrations. This study measured changes in lipoproteins of patients with prostate cancer treated with estrogen to determine whether the increased triglyceride concentrations are associated with atherogenic lipoprotein patterns.
Methods: Fifteen patients (52-87 years) with histologically diagnosed prostate cancer received diethylstilbestrol diphosphate (250 mg/day). Serum samples were collected before and after 1 and 2 weeks of treatment. Cholesterol and triglyceride profiles of major lipoproteins were determined by HPLC, remnant-like particle cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations by an immunoseparation technique, and apolipoproteins by immunologic methods.
Results: Estrogen treatment induced a 63.3% increase in total triglyceride concentrations, which occurred in all major lipoprotein classes with significant increases in HDL-triglycerides (130.4%), LDL-triglycerides (60.7%) and VLDL-triglycerides (56.2%). HDL-cholesterol increased significantly by 26.8%, while LDL-cholesterol decreased (15.6%). Remnant-like particle triglyceride concentrations also increased significantly by 77%, whereas remnant-like particle cholesterol concentrations remained unchanged. Apolipoproteins A-I and A-II increased; apolipoprotein E and Lp(a) decreased.
Conclusions: The techniques used here conveniently demonstrated that short-term estrogen treatment in prostate cancer patients resulted in triglyceride enrichment of all major lipoprotein classes but did not induce changes in the lipoprotein profiles generally recognized as increasing risk for cardiovascular disease, except for the elevation of plasma triglyceride and remnant-like particle triglyceride.