Flutamide is a nonsteroidal pure antiandrogen that acts by inhibiting the uptake and/or binding of dihydrotestosterone to the target cell receptor, thus interfering with androgen action. Flutamide is well absorbed orally and extensively metabolized; its active metabolite, 2-hydroxyflutamide, is formed rapidly and excreted almost entirely by the kidneys. Even though it binds to the cell receptors it does not stimulate the cells into any response. When naturally produced androgens bind to the same receptors on hair follicle cells, the cells may respond with increased activity and terminal hair production.
The binding of Flutamide to cell androgen receptors blocks the receptors from binding to naturally produced androgens and so stops natural androgens from stimulating hair growth. Androgens are male hormones such as testosterone. They have many actions in the body and work by binding to receptors on cells and influencing the actions of these cells. Prostate cancers generally require the androgen testosterone in order to grow and spread.
Flutamide is used in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. It works by preventing testosterone from binding to androgen receptors in the prostate gland. It also acts on an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which ultimately results in a reduction in the amount of testosterone produced by the body. It therefore starves prostate cancer cells of testosterone, which prevents them growing. Eventually the prostate tumour will shrink. It is a type of hormonal therapy. Hormonal therapies interfere with the production or action of particular hormones in the body. Hormones are substances produced naturally in the body. They act as chemical messengers and help to control the activity of cells and organs
Most prostate cancers need supplies of the male hormone testosterone to grow. This is produced by the testes and adrenal glands. Flutamide has a structure similar to testosterone. It works by attaching itself to the receptors on the surface of the prostate cancer cells to block and prevent the attachment of testosterone. Without testosterone, the cancer cells either grow more slowly or stop growing altogether.