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Polyestradiol phosphate

Polyestradiol phosphate
File:Polyestradiol phosphate skeletal.svg
Systematic (IUPAC) name
(17β)-Estra-1,3,5(10)-triene-3,17-diol, polymer with phosphoric acid
Clinical data
Trade names Estradurin
AHFS/ International Drug Names
  • N/A
  • (Prescription only)
Deep intramuscular
Pharmacokinetic data
Protein binding >95% (estradiol)[1]
Metabolism Mainly liver
Half-life 70 days[1]
Excretion Urine
28014-46-2 7pxY
PubChem SID51091766
UNII P14877CDX2 7pxY
KEGG D07434 7pxY
ChEMBL CHEMBL1201477 7pxY
Chemical data
Formula (C18H22)m(O4P)n
(m, n ≈ 80)
~26 kDa
Physical data
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 14pxY (what is this?)  (verify)

Polyestradiol phosphate (INN, trade name Estradurin) is an estrogen in form of a polymer[2] used for the palliative treatment of prostate cancer.[3][4] The drug has been marketed since 1960 by Pfizer in a number of European countries.[5][6]

Medical use

Polyestradiol phosphate is used as an intramuscular injection for estrogen therapy of prostate cancer. It is available in combination with mepivacaine, a local anaesthetic, to avoid a burning sensation during application. After injection, it releases the active agent estradiol over several weeks.[7]


Polyestradiol phosphate reaches the bloodstream within hours after the injection (90% after 24 hours), and is accumulated in the reticuloendothelial system.[4] Estradiol is then cleaved from the polymer by phosphatases, although slowly because polyestradiol phosphate acts as a phosphatase inhibitor.[8] With monthly injections, stable estradiol concentrations are reached after six to twelve months.[4] Estradiol is metabolized primarily in the liver by CYP3A4 and other cytochrome enzymes, and to a lesser extent in the kidneys, testicles and muscles.[7] The metabolites are mainly excreted via the kidneys.

Mechanism of action

The growth of prostate cancer is generally stimulated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT); and unless the cancer is castration resistant, it can be treated by depriving it of DHT. Estradiol inhibits the action of DHT by several mechanisms. Firstly, it acts over the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis feedback loop by blocking secretion of luteinizing hormone, which reduces testosterone synthesis in Leydig cells in the testicle. It blocks testosterone uptake into prostate cells, where it would be metabolized to DHT by the enzyme 5α-reductase. Estradiol also inhibits 5α-reductase directly, blocks binding of DHT to androgen receptors, and exhibits cytotoxicity on prostate cancer cells.[4][7]


The drug has the same contraindications as other forms of estradiol, including active thromboembolism (such as myocardial infarction) or high risk for thromboembolic events, asthma, and severe hepatic impairment.[4][7]

Adverse effects

Although systematic studies of the drug's adverse effects are missing, it is assumed that they are identical to the effects observed under therapy with estradiol and other estrogens. These include nausea, headache, sodium and water retention, gain (but sometimes loss) of body weight, impaired glucose tolerance, and mood swings (in 40% of patients). Allergic reactions of the skin include itching, erythema multiforme and, rarely, Stevens–Johnson syndrome.[4] As thromboembolic complications are associated mainly with oral estrogens and attributed to the first-pass effect, they are expected to occur less frequently under parenteral therapies such as polyestradiol phosphate.[7]

Overdose typically manifests itself by reversible feminization.[7]


Estradiol levels may be increased by CYP3A4 inhibitors such as erythromycin, clarithromycin, ketoconazole, itraconazole and grapefruit juice, and lowered by CYP3A4 inducers such as St John's wort, barbiturates, carbamazepine and rifampicin. The combination with COX-2 inhibitors can increase the risk for thromboembolism. Estradiol can also increase the effects of glucocorticoids.[7][9]

Physical and chemical properties


Polyestradiol phosphate is of very low solubility in water, acetone, chloroform, dioxane, and ethanol, but solves readily in bases, especially in aqueous pyridine.[4]


Like polyphosphates of polyphenols, polyestradiol phosphate can be prepared from the monomer (in this case estradiol) and phosphoryl chloride. The latter reacts with both the phenolic hydroxyl group in position 3 and the aliphatic one in position 17. The molecular mass of the resulting polymer can be controlled by interrupting the reaction after a given time: the longer the reaction is allowed to continue, the higher the mass.[8][10]

Phosphoryl chloride


Pharmacological experiments on estradiol phosphates conducted around 1950 gave rise to the hypothesis that estradiol 3,17-diphosphate acted as an inhibitor of kidney alkaline phosphatase.[8] When the same scientists wanted to synthesize simple phosphates of phloretin, a compound found in apple tree leaves,[11] they accidentally created a polymer instead.[10] This was later shown to exhibit the same anti-phosphatase properties as estradiol diphosphate, and so it was hypothesized that the original finding was due to contamination with estradiol phosphate polymers.[8] Consequently, these polymers were studied in more detail, which resulted in marketing of polyestradiol phosphate in 1960.[5] This drug is or has been marketed by Pfizer in Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Norway, and Sweden.[6] As of 2012, it is no longer available in Austria.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Estradurin" (in German). Arzneimittel-Kompendium der Schweiz. August 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Johansson, CJ; Gunnarsson, PO (June 2000). "Pharmacodynamic model of testosterone suppression after intramuscular depot estrogen therapy in prostate cancer". Prostate 44 (1): 26–30. PMID 10861754. doi:10.1002/1097-0045(20000615)44:1<26::AID-PROS4>3.0.CO;2-P. 
  3. ^ Mikkola, A; Aro, J; Rannikko, S; Ruutu, M; Finnprostate, Group (March 2007). "Ten-year survival and cardiovascular mortality in patients with advanced prostate cancer primarily treated by intramuscular polyestradiol phosphate or orchiectomy". Prostate 67 (4): 447–55. PMID 17219379. doi:10.1002/pros.20547. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Dinnendahl, V; Fricke, U, eds. (2010). Arzneistoff-Profile (in German) 4 (23 ed.). Eschborn, Germany: Govi Pharmazeutischer Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7741-98-46-3. 
  5. ^ a b "Produktresumé for Estradurin" [Summary of Product Characteristics for Estradurin] (PDF) (in Danish). 29 January 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b International Drug Names
  7. ^ a b c d e f g W, Jasek, ed. (2007). Austria-Codex (in German) (62nd ed.). Vienna: Österreichischer Apothekerverlag. pp. 2992–4. ISBN 978-3-85200-181-4. 
  8. ^ a b c d Diczfalusy, E (April 1954). "Poly-estradiol phosphate (PEP); a long-acting water soluble estrogen". Endocrinology 54 (4): 471–7. PMID 13151143. doi:10.1210/endo-54-4-471. 
  9. ^ Klopp, T, ed. (2011). Arzneimittel-Interaktionen (in German) (2011/2012 ed.). Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Pharmazeutische Information. ISBN 978-3-85200-214-9. 
  10. ^ a b Diczfalusy, E; Fernö, O; Fex, H; Högberg, B; Linderot, T; Rosenberg, Th (1953). "Synthetic high molecular weight enzyme inhibitors. I. Polymeric phosphates of phloretin and related compounds" (PDF). Act Chem Scand 7 (6): 921–7. doi:10.3891/acta.chem.scand.07-0913. 
  11. ^ Picinelli, A; Dapena, E; Mangas, JJ (1995). "Polyphenolic pattern in apple tree leaves in relation to scab resistance. A preliminary study". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 43 (8): 2273–78. doi:10.1021/jf00056a057.