Flutamide: an antiandrogen for advanced prostate cancer

DICP. 1990 Jun;24(6):616-23. doi: 10.1177/106002809002400612.


Flutamide is a nonsteroidal pure antiandrogen that acts by inhibiting the uptake and/or binding of dihydrotestosterone to the target cell receptor, thus interfering with androgen action. Flutamide is well absorbed orally and extensively metabolized; its active metabolite, 2-hydroxyflutamide, is formed rapidly and excreted almost entirely by the kidneys. Clinical studies in prostate cancer patients have demonstrated efficacy with flutamide monotherapy in patients who had received no prior treatment, in untreated patients with combined androgen blockade concomitantly with a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH)-agonist, and in relapsed patients. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial demonstrated a 26 percent increase in median survival for patients treated with leuprolide plus flutamide compared with leuprolide plus placebo. When given as monotherapy and in combination with an LHRH-agonist, flutamide is well tolerated. The usual adverse effects are gynecomastia and mild diarrhea when given as a single agent. In combination with an LHRH-agonist, hot flashes, loss of libido, impotence, mild nausea and vomiting, gynecomastia, and diarrhea are commonly reported. However, only diarrhea occurred more frequently in patients treated with leuprolide plus flutamide than in those treated with leuprolide plus placebo. Flutamide is indicated in combination with an LHRH-agonist (e.g., leuprolide) as initial therapy in metastatic (stage D2) prostate cancer. The usual dose is 250 mg po tid given at eight-hour intervals and started concurrently with the LHRH-agonist. Formulary addition is recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anilides / therapeutic use*
  • Flutamide / pharmacokinetics
  • Flutamide / pharmacology
  • Flutamide / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Anilides
  • Flutamide