Experimental therapies for prostate cancer

Published: August, 2009

Abiraterone and MDV3100 may slow disease progression

Despite having had surgery or radiation, about 25% to 40% of prostate cancer patients will experience a rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, often a sign of recurrent disease. In these cases, doctors generally turn to hormone therapy to stanch the body's production of testosterone, the male hormone (or androgen) that fuels the growth of prostate cancer. The drugs prevent the natural secretion of LHRH, short for luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone, which is the brain's chemical signal to start testosterone production.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer, also called androgen deprivation therapy or chemical castration, causes testosterone levels to drop by up to 95%. Testosterone levels can also be reduced by surgically removing the testicles. But given the irreversible nature and potential psychological impact of this procedure, it is not usually the treatment of choice.

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