Monica Zangwill, MD, MPH
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
The type of treatment you will have will depend on the stage of the cancer, the size of the tumor, your age, and overall condition. The main prescription drug therapies used to treat prostate cancer are hormonal therapies.
Prostate cells need male hormones, called androgens, to grow and work properly. The aim of hormonal therapy is to reduce the amount of male hormones in your body so that prostate cells are not stimulated to grow. The most effective hormonal therapy is to undergo surgery to remove the testes (orchiectomy). This is effective surgery, but it is irreversible. Often hormonal therapies are combined to achieve greater effects.
Different types of hormonal therapies include:
Common names include:
These medications decrease the production of the male hormone, testosterone, from the testicles. These medications are given by injection into a muscle every few months.
Possible side effects include:
Anti-androgens prevent your body from using androgens.
Possible side effects include:
Ketoconazole blocks the production of androgens. It is considered a second-line hormonal treatment. It may be used when other medications are not working.
Common name: abiraterone
Abiraterone works by blocking an enzyme that is needed to make testosterone. The drug affects the ability of the testes and body tissue from making this male hormone.
Common name: enzalutamide
This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for men that have late-stage prostate cancer that has not responded to other treatments.
Enzalutamide, a type of anti-antigen, prevents your body from using androgens.
If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:
About hormone therapy for prostate cancer. Cancer Research UK website. Available at:
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/prostate-cancer/treatment/hormone/about-hormone-therapy-for-prostate-cancer. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T483438/Androgen-deprivation-therapy-for-prostate-cancer. Updated July 15, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
Angiogenesis inhibitors. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/immunotherapy/angiogenesis-inhibitors-fact-sheet. Updated October 7, 2011. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Chemo & targeted therapy. Texas Oncology website. Available at:
http://www.texasoncology.com/types-of-cancer/prostate-cancer/targeted-therapy-for-prostate-cancer. Accessed September 8, 2016.
American Cancer Society
website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003134-pdf.pdf. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Prostate cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/prostate-cancer. Updated November 2013. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Smith DP, King MT, Egger S, et al. Quality of life three years after diagnosis of localised prostate cancer: population based cohort study.
Study: new drug enzalutamide extends life in advanced prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/study-new-drug-enzalutamide-extends-life-in-advanced-prostate-cancer. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
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