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Estramustine is used in the treatment of metastatic (cancer which has spread to other parts of the body), progressive or unresponsive prostate cancer or that has relapsed after conventional anti-cancer treatment.

How it works

Estramustine belongs to a class of anticancer/cytotoxic drugs called antimicrotubule agents.  It works by interfering with production of certain proteins which are necessary for tumor cell growth and reproduction. It also increases the estrogen levels, which in turn interferes with prostate cancer by slowing/stopping the growth of cancer cells.

Common side effects

Nausea, Breast tenderness, Breast enlargement, Chest pain, Diarrhoea, Fainting, Dizziness, Shortness of breath, Difficulty in swalloing, Fatigue, Impotence, Insomnia, Muscle cramp, Swelling


Expert advice

  • Use estramustine with caution if you have history of inflammation of vein caused by blood clot (thrombophlebitis), problems with clotting of blood (thrombosis or thromboembolic disorders), especially if associated with estrogen therapy.
  • Exercise caution should if you have cerebral vascular disease (condition which can sometimes lead to a stroke) or coronary artery disease.
  • If you are suffering from diabetes, your glucose tolerance will be monitored closely.
  • You should regularly monitor your blood pressure as estramustine may result in high blood pressure.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or had bone marrow disease, low blood cell counts, epilepsy (convulsions/seizures), high level of calcium in your blood, kidney disease, fluid retention, heart problems which can cause shortness of breath or ankle swelling, migraines.
  • You should avoid receiving live vaccine while on estramustine treatment, as it may result in serious or fatal infections.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction such as sudden wheeziness, difficulty in breathing, swelling of eyelids, face or lips, rash or itching (especially affecting the whole body), increasing swelling, discomfort or discoloration of one or both legs chest pain or breathlessness.
  • Do not take milk, milk products, or foods that contain large amounts of calcium including antacids within 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking estramustine.
  • Both men and women should use effective birth control methods while using estramustine.

Frequently asked questions


 Q. What is estramustine phosphate?
Estramustine belongs to a class of anticancer/cytotoxic drugs called antimicrotubule agents used in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)