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May 1963

Secondary Hormonal Therapy of Disseminated Breast Cancer: Comparison of Hypophysectomy, Replacement Therapy, Estrogens, and Androgens

Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Neurological Surgery, Surgery, and Medicine of the University of California Medical Center.; Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery (Dr. Witt), Assistant Resident in Surgery (Dr. Gardner), Associate Professor of Medicine (Dr. Gordan), Graduate Research Surgeon (Dr. Graham), and Assistant Resident in Surgery (Dr. Thomas), University of California School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(5):557-563. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620290023005

When breast cancer spreads beyond control by surgical or roentgen therapy, regressions can still be produced by the administration of hormones, endocrine ablative procedures, or by chemotherapy. In postmenopausal women estrogens and androgens produce objective regressions as primary hormonal therapy in 20% to 30% of all cases* When such primary therapy ceases to be effective, or if the disease fails to respond to it, secondary hormonal therapy generally produces fewer objective regressions. The purpose of this study is to compare the antitumor efficacy of various secondary hormonal treatments in advanced breast cancer and to attempt to ascertain whether regressions obtained from hypophysectomy are due to the removal of pituitary factors or to hormonal replacement therapy.

Method  All postmenopausal women with objectively progressing disseminated breast cancer previously treated by hormonal therapy under the protocol of the Cooperative Breast Cancer Study Group1 or referred to us after hormonal therapy had been