Endocrine factors in common epithelial ovarian cancer

Endocr Rev. 1991 Feb;12(1):14-26. doi: 10.1210/edrv-12-1-14.


PIP: Ovarian cancer is responsible for 4% of all cancers in females and 6% of all their cancer deaths. Its mortality rate is greater than that of cervical and endometrial cancer together. The concentration of estrogen receptors (ER) rises and progesterone receptors (PR) falls in malignant ovarian tumors. In fact, ER and PR at present in 61% and 49% of malignant ovarian tumors respectively. 36% of these tumors contain both ER and PR. Further 69-90% of such tumors contain androgen receptors (AR). After (anti)hormonal agent therapy fails, physicians use progestins in combination with the synthetic antiestrogen tamoxifen in progressive or recurrent advanced ovarian cancer. The response rate for this treatment of ovarian cancer is only around 15%. Patients with malignant ovarian tumors with PR levels =or+ 50 fmol/mg tend to have a better prognosis than those with PR levels 50 fmol/mg. Neither age, stage of disease, nor tumor histology affect the prognostic value of PR. In vitro studies demonstrate that pure antiandrogens significantly inhibit about 60% of ovarian tumors. Another study also demonstrates that antiandrogen therapy alone may an effective endocrine therapy. As a result, the Gynecologic Cancer Cooperative Group of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer if conducting a clinical trial on the effect of the antiandrogen flutamide on advanced or recurrent ovarian cancer. Researchers plan to investigate the effect of combining endocrine therapy with current standard chemotherapy. In fact, they intend to learn if combined chemo-endocrine therapy should be used as 1st line treatment for ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Medroxyprogesterone / analogs & derivatives
  • Medroxyprogesterone / therapeutic use
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Progesterone / analysis
  • Prognosis
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use


  • Hormones
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Tamoxifen
  • Progesterone
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Medroxyprogesterone