Estrogenrapy may increase the risk of early death in all but the most advanced cases of prostatic cancer, a 14-hospital study of more than 2,300 men indicates.
Although estrogens are indispensable for some patients, "it is clear that under certain circumstances, and in certain groups of patients, estrogens can kill," comments John C. Bailar, III, MD. Early deaths from cardiovascular causes result far more frequently than expected.
In order to evaluate the various modes of therapy for prostate cancer, a prospective study was begun seven years ago by the nationwide Veterans' Administration Cooperative Urological Research Group. All patients at 14 centers who did not have complicating secondary factors were admitted to the study.
Random assignment of initial therapy was made according to each patient's stage of disease, Dr. Bailar explained in a recent interview. He is head of the demography section, National Cancer Institute Biometry Branch.