What’s the next treatment step for prostate cancer after hormone therapy?

Hormonal therapy can often control advanced prostate cancer for extended periods of time, but eventually, resistant cancer cells may start to grow.  In this situation, the cancer is sometimes referred to as "hormone-refractory" or "hormone-resistant." 

For many years there were relatively few options available for men with hormone-refractory prostate cancer, but this is beginning to change.  In fact, in the past year, the FDA approved 3 drugs for use in this stage of cancer, remarkable considering the last drug prior to this was approved in 2004.  Yet another treatment is expected to be approved in 2011.

The major classes of available treatments include: 

1. Chemotherapies (including docetaxel, mitoxantrone, cabazitaxel)

2. Secondary hormone therapies (including bicalutamide, abiraterone)

3. Bone-directed therapies (including zoledronic acid, denosumab, samarium)

4. Immune therapies or vaccines (so far, only sipuleucel-T)

So the good news for men with advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer is that further treatments are available, and much research is going on in this area.  More work needs to be done, though, since none of these treatments has been shown to cure men with advanced prostate cancer.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.