Research & Education
Emcyt® (There may be other brand names for this medication)
How is it Administered?
Your medicine is a capsule and can be taken by mouth. Estramustine should be taken with water 1 hour before meals or 2 hours after meals to prevent stomach upset.
What is it Used For?
This drug is used to treat prostate cancer.
How Does it Work?
Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Both normal and cancer cells go through cycles that include a resting phase, active growing phases, and division. Your chemotherapy schedule is based upon the type of cancer you have, the rate at which they divide, and the times when each drug is the most likely to be effective. This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.
Estramustine is in a class of drugs (antimicrotubule) that interrupts the cell cycle, disrupts their growth, and their ability to reproduce. If the cells are unable to divide, they die.
The faster cells are dividing (reproducing), the more likely it is that chemotherapy will damage/kill the cells. Unfortunately, chemotherapy does not know the difference between cancer cells and normal cells that reproduce frequently. The cells in your body that are the most likely to be affected by chemotherapy are the cells that line the digestive tract (mouth, stomach, intestines), hair follicles, and blood cells.
These normal cells will eventually grow back and be healthy. During treatment, however, you may experience side effects from the chemotherapy’s effects on these normally fast reproducing cells.
Estramustine is made up of a combination of nornitrogen mustard and an estrogen derivative, estradiol phosphate. This design was to target cancer cells with estrogen receptors on their surface. However, it was found to be active against estrogen receptor-negative tumor cells as well.