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Danazol Treatment Linked to Telomere Elongation

Reduction in rate of telomere attrition at 24 months; gain in telomere length seen from six months

FRIDAY, May 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) — In patients with telomere diseases, treatment with the synthetic sex hormone danazol is associated with telomere elongation, according to a study published in the May 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Danielle M. Townsley, M.D., from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues conducted a phase 1-2 prospective study involving patients with telomere diseases. The synthetic sex hormone danazol was administered orally at a dose of 800 mg per day for 24 months, with a goal of attenuation of accelerated telomere attrition.

The study was stopped early after telomere attrition was reduced in all 12 patients who could be evaluated for the primary end point. The researchers found that in the intention-to-treat analysis, 12 of 27 patients met the primary efficacy end point (20 percent reduction in the annual rate of telomere attrition measured at 24 months). At 24 months, 11 of the 12 patients had a gain in telomere length compared with baseline; similar increases were seen at six and 12 months. Hematologic responses were seen for 79 and 83 percent of patients who could be evaluated at three and 24 months, respectively. Elevated liver-enzyme levels and muscle cramps of grade 2 or less occurred in 41 and 33 percent of the patients, respectively.

“In our study, treatment with danazol led to telomere elongation in patients with telomere diseases,” the authors write.

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