Rational use of agonists and antagonists of luteinizing hormone- releasing hormone (LH-RH) in the treatment of hormone-sensitive neoplasms and gynaecologic conditions

Andrew V. Schally, Ana Maria Comaru-Schally

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Analogues of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) have made possible new approaches to the treatment of some hormone-dependent cancers and diseases and conditions which result from inappropriate sex hormone levels. In the fields of both gynaecology and oncology, the development of sustained delivery depot systems has played a key role in the clinical use of LH-RH agonists and will be also essential for the LH-RH antagonists. Clinical results show that therapy with agonists of LH-RH is the preferred method of treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer. For prostate cancer and other indications, the new LH-RH antagonists such as Cetrorelix may offer an advantage based on the fact that they inhibit LH, FSH and sex-steroid secretion from the start of the administration and thus reduce the time of the onset of therapeutic effects. The use of antagonists would avoid the temporary clinical 'flare-up' of the disease which can occur with the agonists in men with prostate cancer. The rapid shrinkage of the prostate and improvement in urinary symptoms obtained with Cetrorelix in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP) suggests that LH-RH antagonists offer a therapeutic alternative in patients who are considered poor surgical risks. Various experimental and clinical studies suggest that analogues of LH-RH might be useful for treatment of premenopausal women with oestrogen-dependent breast cancer. LH-RH antagonists such as Cetrorelix could be also considered for hormonal therapy of epithelial ovarian cancer which responds only marginally to the agonists, and for treatment of endometrial cancer. Many investigators have reported beneficial effects of LH-RH agonists in the treatment of patients with leiomyomas. LH-RH antagonists also appear to be promising for therapy of uterine leiomyomas, and in addition might be useful for treatment of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD). LH-RH agonists have been employed in in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) programs to prevent a premature rise in LH and various results suggest that the use of antagonist Cetrorelix in assisted reproduction procedures, could be even more advantageous. For most of these indications, the use of sustained release depot preparations will be required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 13 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer treatment
  • Depot preparations
  • LH-RH agonists and antagonists
  • PLG Microcapsules
  • Sustained delivery systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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