New Transdermal SARM Drug for Muscle-Wasting Offers Hope for Older Cancer Patients

Muscle wasting that occurs as a result of cancer negatively impacts the well-being and recovery prospects of millions of patients, particularly the rapidly-growing elderly populations in Western societies. Drugs called selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) offer hope for these patients, and a new SARM for transdermal administration is promising excellent efficacy without harming liver function and HDL levels. Results and conclusions were presented Tuesday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

SARMs are able to stimulate the growth of muscle with effects similar to those seen by use of traditional anabolic steroids but without the undesirable side effects of those established muscle-building drugs, in particular, the adverse effects on prostate health that can occur from their use.

Editor’s note: As stated above, drugs called SARMs may help counteract harmful muscle loss that occurs as a result of cancer in elderly patients. A new SARM was recently studied in the lab and in mice. Scientists say that it shows promising ability to stimulate growth of muscle, without harming liver function and without lowering blood levels of a molecule called HDL. Clinical trials to test the drug in volunteer patients will be needed to determine if the drug will help people with cancer.