for females ages 18-40 (full criteria)
at San Francisco, California
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Monika A Sarkar, MD, MAS
Headshot of Monika A Sarkar
Monika A Sarkar



Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), or fat-related liver inflammation and scarring is projected to be the leading cause of cirrhosis in the United States (U.S.) within the next few years. Women are at disproportionate risk for NASH, with approximately 15 million U.S. women affected. There is an urgent need to understand risk factors for NASH and its progression in women, and sex hormones may provide a missing link. This study will study the contribution of androgens to liver injury and progression in PCOS and mechanistic role of dysregulated lipid metabolism and visceral adiposity in this process. Such findings will provide the rationale for future efficacy studies evaluating selective androgen receptor (AR) antagonism for NASH in PCOS, or alternatively, the need to directly target visceral adiposity or lipid-specific pathways as part of a precision medicine approach to halt fibrosis progression in the nearly 5 million young women with PCOS and NAFLD in the U.S., who remain at increased risk for early onset and progressive liver disease.

Official Title

Pilot Trial of Bicalutamide Versus Placebo in Reproductive-Aged Women With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)


This is a single center, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, (1:1) parallel group pilot clinical trial of bicalutamide in women with either biopsy-proven or believed NAFLD receiving 6 months of bicalutamide or placebo. 50 women are targeted for enrollment. Each participant will be administered a single dose of bicalutamide or placebo once daily for a total of 6 months. In person evaluations will take place at Month 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. There will be a telephone follow up visit within 1 month of end of treatment. This is a pilot clinical trial that is largely feasibility focused. Study outcomes will include:

  • Change in liver stiffness on Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE)
  • Change in hepatic steatosis by Magnetic Resonance Proton Density Fat Fraction (PDFF)
  • Change in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) volume by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Change in NASH histology as assessed by the continuous NAFLD activity score (NAS), which measures different components of NASH on liver biopsy.
  • Biochemical endpoints: serum lipids & HOMA-IR
  • Feasibility outcomes including Rates (and reasons) for the following: a) % women that decline/women contacted for study inclusion (i.e. concern regarding randomization to placebo) b) % women enrolled/women screened (i.e. exclusion criteria too narrow), c) study dropout (i.e. medication side effects, too frequent study visits, and/or phlebotomy)


NAFLD, PCOS, Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Bicalutamide, Bicalutamide 50 mg


You can join if…

Open to females ages 18-40

  • Women aged 18-40 years with hyperandrogenic PCOS
  • NASH identified on liver biopsy or probable NASH on transient elastography- controlled attenuation parameter (TE-CAP) with cutoffs defined as CAP score ≥270 decibel/m and TE score > 7.0 kPA or alanine aminotransferase ≥40 U/L).

You CAN'T join if...

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Alcohol consumption >2 drinks per day for at least 3 consecutive months over the previous 5 years
  • Other chronic liver disease (i.e. hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, autoimmune hepatitis) or cirrhosis from any cause
  • Recent or planned upcoming weight reduction surgery within five years of diagnosis of biopsy-confirmed NASH
  • HIV infection
  • Drugs associated with fatty liver (i.e. amiodarone, methotrexate, systemic glucocorticoids, tamoxifen, anabolic steroids, valproic acid) for more than 4 weeks prior to baseline or during study
  • Recent, current, or planned upcoming pregnancy or current perimenopausal status
  • Renal impairment (glomerular filtration rate <45 ml/min/1.73m or potassium levels > 5.0 mmol/L)
  • Androgen receptor antagonist use (i.e. spironolactone or flutamide) for more than 3 months within one year prior to baseline


  • UCSF accepting new patients
    San Francisco California 94143 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSF

  • Monika A Sarkar, MD, MAS
    My clinical focus is on women with liver disease, including pregnancy-related liver conditions and reproductive health. My research program is focused on the role of sex hormones in modulating liver disease in women.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Phase 1 research study
Study Type
Expecting 50 study participants
Last Updated