Doctors have not demonstrated DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) to be useful in the treatment of cancer.

The most abundant hormone produced by the adrenal glands is DHEA. DHEA has been beneficial in the treatment of depression and anxiety, lupus, sexual dysfunction, and Addison’s disease in clinical studies. DHEA supplementation has been linked to an increased incidence of breast and ovarian cancers; it has also been linked to a flare-up of prostate cancer.

DHEA, the most abundant hormone released by the adrenal glands, circulates in the blood as dehydroepiandrosterone-3-sulfate, a sulphate ester (DHEA-S). Both of these hormones serve as precursors to other hormones such as oestrogen and androgens. DHEA appears to have chemopreventive properties, since it inhibits the growth of cancers in animals. Following hepatitis and influenza vaccines, it improves immune response. Although experts suggest that DHEA may help to boost immunological response in people with AIDS, no antiviral or immunostimulatory effects were present in HIV-positive people who took DHEA.

DHEA helps with Addison’s illness, significant depression, schizophrenia-induced anxiety, systemic lupus erythematosus, erectile dysfunction, and osteoporosis in clinical studies. Low blood DHEA-S levels have also increases incidence of non-vertebral fractures in older males. Topical dehydroepiandrosterone administration enhanced sebum production and epidermal thickness in postmenopausal women’s palms and faces. However, experts have observed DHEA to be unsuccessful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, teenage obesity, and perimenopausal symptoms.

Furthermore, it did not improve muscle mass or physical performance, improve cognitive performance, or improve insulin secretion or action in elderly people; and supplementation with DHEA, which essentially improves physical strength, did not improve physical performance or quality of life in an older men and women’s study. However, contradictory evidence suggests that older women’s cognitive and physical function are improving. DHEA may also protect against hypoglycemia-related neuroendocrine and autonomic dysfunction, according to the findings.

In addition, experts have examined DHEA’s effects on sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women, with conflicting results. However, vaginal dehydroepiandrosterone usage may be beneficial in preventing moderate to severe dyspareunia in menopausal women, as well as improving vaginal cytology in postmenopausal women with breast or gynecologic malignancies. It’s uncertain if DHEA is useful in treating adrenal insufficiency.

DHEA levels beyond a certain threshold do essentially link to an increased risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

In women who are not yet menopausal. Increased DHEA-S levels are also in line with tamoxifen resistance and disease progression in breast cancer patients. A patient with advanced prostate cancer who was receiving dehydroepiandrosterone therapy experienced a cancer flare-up. Experts have also suggested the connection between an increase in serum DHEA and androsterone (AST) to a shorter time to castration-resistant prostate cancer in individuals receiving androgen depletion therapy for recurrent prostate cancer.

Uses of Dehydroepiandrosterone

  • Addison’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer treatment
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sexual performance
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Action Mechanism

In reaction to adrenocorticotropin, the adrenal cortex secretes DHEA, which is an endogenous hormone. Dehydroepiandrosterone is metabolised in the body into androstenedione, which can then be turned into testosterone or oestrogen. Burn damage, coronary artery disease, non-insulin-dependent diabetic mellitus, obsessive-compulsive disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus are all because of low levels of endogenous DHEA. The concentration of endogenous DHEA peaks at the age of 20 and then gradually decreases with age.

DHEA stimulates insulin growth factor-1. G6PD is a must for the synthesis of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH). In animal studies, DHEA enhances interleukin-2 levels. Dehydroepiandrosterone decreases flares in systemic lupus erythematosus by reducing the impact of inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-6. There is an inverse association between DHEA concentration and cardiovascular disease, according to several research.

DHEA treatment improved mental function ratings in patients with advanced HIV infection, increased influenza vaccination in older patients, and reduced oxidative stress indicators in type 2 diabetic patients, in part through inhibiting TNF-alpha signalling. One may mediate the anti-depressive effects of dehydroepiandrosterone via GABAA receptor regulation; despite the fact that DHEA-S concentration does not appear to be in line with cognitive impairment in aged males. DHEA also alters the liver’s cytochrome P-450 enzymes. It’s yet unknown what influence this will have on other medicines.

DHEA analogues that aren’t converted to androgens or estrogens have been created and shown to have anti-proliferative properties. In vitro, DHEA inhibits glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) and prevents tumour growth in mice. A mitogen activated protein kinase (JNK)-transciption factor (Nrf2)-protein complex p62 axis also promotes autophagic cell death in human hepatoma cells. However, an increase in sex hormone concentrations, such as DHEA, has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. In addition, chronic dehydroepiandrosterone A use in postmenopausal women may raise the risk of breast cancer, especially in obese women.