Finasteride Breast Cancer Treatment

       Finasteride is an anti-androgen that blocks the activity of type-II 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme required to convert testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Finasteride is primarily used in the treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and androgenetic alopecia or male-pattern baldness.

     Finasteride is an effective cancer treatment drug as it blocks the production of active male reproductive hormone, as a result of which the cancer cells cease to grow.

    Male breast cancer is a rare occurrence, primarily resulting due to elevated estrogen-to-testosterone ratio. According to recent research, there is a potential chance of inducing occurrence of breast cancer and gynecomastia in males due to finasteride treatment.

    The most significant side effect of finasteride is that it causes a significant increase in the levels of testosterone since it blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydro testosterone (DHT). Continuous existence of elevated levels of testosterone in the circulating blood could often lead to various negative effects on the body. Apart from this, there is one more noticeable condition that could arise during finasteride treatment. Dihydro testosterone is considered as the most effective antagonist of estrogen, the female sex hormone. Adrenal glands of men also secrete minute amounts of estrogen, whose effects are nullified by DHT. However, reducing the levels of DHT during finasteride therapy causes estrogen to be more effective in men. This condition might result in development of gynecomastia and breast cancer in males.

    According to a USFDA report from June 1992 to February 1995, around 214 men receiving finasteride therapy developed gynecomastia. Out of these, two persons were later found to have acquired invasive ductal breast carcinoma. A similar Prostrate Cancer Prevention Trial replicated similar kinds of results.  

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