Zuclomiphene citrate is a novel estrogen receptor agonist being developed for the treatment of hot flashes (aka vasomotor symptoms) caused by prostate cancer hormonal therapies in men with advanced prostate cancer.

hot flashes from a patient point of view

Hot Flashes During Prostate Cancer Treatment (ADT) – A Patient’s Perspective

Zuclomiphene: A potential treatment for men with hot flashes from prostate cancer treatment (ADT)

Zuclomiphene: A potential treatment for men with hot flashes from prostate cancer treatment (ADT)

Zuclomiphene citrate

Clinical Trial Information

To Ameliorate the Vasomotor Symptoms (Hot Flashes) Resulting from Androgen Deprivation Therapy in Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer

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Scientific Overview

Prostate cancer is the most common noncutaneous cancer diagnosed in men, with approximately 175,000 new cases in the U.S. in 2019. The estimated prevalence of prostate cancer in the U.S. is 3 million cases for which over one-third will have received ADT. ADT results in very low, castrate levels of testosterone. Eliminating testosterone is an effective therapy as testosterone is a powerful growth factor for prostate cancer. As estrogen is derived from testosterone in men, low levels in testosterone also results in very low levels of estrogen. Low estrogen side effects include hot flashes, bone loss and fractures, loss of libido, memory disturbances, and adverse blood lipid changes.

Hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms, are one of the most common and debilitating side effects of prostate cancer hormonal therapies. Hormone therapies include ADT, like LUPRON® and ELIGARD® (leuprolide), FIRMAGON® (degarelix), ZOLADEX® (goserelin), as well as the newer agents approved to treat advanced prostate cancer such as ZYTIGA® (abiraterone) and XTANDI® (enzalutamide). Up to 80% of men on ADT complain of hot flashes with 30-40% having moderate to severe hot flashes. Hot flashes are defined as intense heat sensation, flushing and profuse sweating and chills as well as anxiety and palpitations. Although episodes of hot flashes often occur repeatedly and generally last a few minutes, some may last up to 20 minutes. Hot flashes associated with prostate cancer hormonal therapies tend to persist over time with the same frequency and intensity throughout therapy. Up to 50% of men continue to report hot flashes after five years on prostate cancer hormonal therapy. Patients on ADT report significant effects on daily functioning and quality of life. Hot flashes are one of the main reasons that prostate cancer patients want to delay or stop being treated by ADT. As prostate cancer patients with advanced and metastatic disease are living longer because of more effective ADT, hot flashes have become an even bigger concern and impact on quality of life.

Hormonal and nonhormonal therapies have been used off-label to treat hot flashes in men on prostate cancer hormonal therapies. In general, use of off-label hormonal agents, especially estrogens, have been shown to be helpful for treating hot flashes1. However, off-label estrogen treatment is complicated by lack of consistent dosing, and known side effects such as gynecomastia (breast enlargement), gynecodynia (painful breasts), and increase in thromboembolic events like deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, and stroke. Progesterone hormone agents, like MEGACE® (megestrol), have also been used off-label but the side effects include weight gain, increase in thromboembolic events like deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, and stroke, and the potential to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer. Nonhormonal agents that also have been used off-label include antiseizure agents and antidepressants that have serious and unwanted side effects. Moreover, nonhormonal agents have demonstrated less effectiveness than hormonal therapies for the treatment of hot flashes2. There are no FDA-approved therapies for hot flashes caused by prostate cancer hormonal therapy in men with advanced prostate cancer. As estrogen deficiency is the reason for the hot flashes, we believe that zuclomiphene, a nonsteroidal estrogen receptor agonist, has the potential to replace estrogen and be an efficacious and well tolerated treatment for hot flashes caused by ADT in men with advanced prostate cancer.

VERU Hot Flash Poster Zuclomiphene

Survey of ADT-induced estrogen deficiency related side effects in a contemporary cohort of men with advanced prostate cancer
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Zuclomiphene citrate

Development Plan

In June 2018, the Company submitted an IND with the FDA for zuclomiphene citrate. In September 2018, the Company enrolled its first subject in the Phase 2  double-blind randomized placebo-controlled dose finding study evaluating two doses of oral daily zuclomiphene (10mg or 50mg) treatment versus placebo in approximately 95 men with advanced prostate cancer who have ADT induced moderate to severe hot flashes. The clinical study has a treatment duration of 12 weeks and is being conducted in 24 clinical centers in the United States. The primary endpoint is the frequency of moderate to severe hot flashes. Secondary endpoints include severity of hot flashes and improvement in bone marker. In January of 2020, the Company announced positive top-line interim data for its Phase 2 clinical study.

Zuclomiphene citrate

Market

Hot flashes are the most common side effect of prostate cancer hormone therapy, with hot flashes occurring in approximately 80% of men receiving one of the common forms of ADT, including LUPRON® (Leuprolide), ELIGARD® (Leuprolide), and FIRMAGON® (degarelix) and about up to 40% of such men experience moderate to severe hot flashes. Approximately 600,000 men annually in the United States are on ADT for advanced prostate cancer. There are currently no FDA-approved therapies for hot flashes associated with prostate cancer hormonal therapies.  Based on independent market research sponsored by the Company, U.S. peak sales for zuclomiphene citrate to treat hot flashes in men with prostate cancer in ADT are estimated to be approximately $600-800 million.

  1. Alekshun and Patterson, “Management of Hot Flashes in Men with Prostate Cancer Being Treated with Adrogen Deprivation Therapy”, Supportive Cancer Therapy, Vol. 4, No. 1, 30-37, 2006
  2. Alekshun and Patterson, “Management of Hot Flashes in Men with Prostate Cancer Being Treated with Adrogen Deprivation Therapy”, Supportive Cancer Therapy, Vol. 4, No. 1, 30-37, 2006