Hormones and hormone modulators are a group of medications that suppress the function of specific hormones, which slows or stops the growth of hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast, endometrial, and prostate cancers. They can also be used to ease the symptoms caused by certain types of cancer, such as brain or renal cancers.
Now, hormones and hormone modulators can be broadly classified as sex hormones; antiestrogens; aromatase inhibitors; antiandrogens; and gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs.
Now, some commonly used sex hormones include hydroxyprogesterone, which is administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously for advanced uterine adenocarcinoma; as well as medroxyprogesterone, and megestrol, which are taken orally for endometrial or breast cancer. Once administered, these medications work by suppressing the pituitary gland from releasing gonadotropins, so follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH for short, and luteinizing hormone or LH. As a result, gonadotropins aren’t available to stimulate sex hormone production by the gonads, which ultimately delays the growth of sex hormone-dependent tumors.
There are also antiestrogens, which include selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMs for short, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, and fulvestrant. These medications are administered orally, and work by blocking estrogen receptors on cancer cells, which delays the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors.