Ovarian cancer has a poor prognosis. At the time of diagnosis, in the majority of cases, the disease has progressed to a stage where intra-abdominal dissemination has already taken place. The pathogenesis of ovarian cancer is still unknown. However, epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that endocrine factors may play an important role. Elevated steroid hormone levels have been detected in ovarian cancer patients. The use of endocrine therapy, frequently consisting of progestins and/or tamoxifen, given on an empirical basis and as a last resort, has shown a modest response rate of 10-15%. About 50% of the tumors are positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors (PR). The PR status is a prognostic indicator, independent of the stage of disease, histology and patient's age. The majority of ovarian cancers (>70%) are positive for androgen receptors. Anti-androgens inhibit the growth of ovarian cancer cells in vitro in a majority of cases tested. Clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of anti-androgen are recommended.
Endocrine-Related Cancer (1996) 3 309-326