Prostate Cancer Treatment

Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system.


The main symptoms of prostate cancer include pain, difficulty urinating, and erectile dysfunction, along with other symptoms.


Prostate cancer occurs when the cells found in the prostate begin to change and multiply rapidly. These cells can also spread and affect other parts of the body, especially the bones and lymph nodes.

There are a few different ways to determine the likelihood of prostate cancer. The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and DRE (digital rectal exam) are two common methods.

Though most prostate cancers are found during screening with the DRE or PSA blood test, the actual diagnosis can only be made with a prostate biopsy.

HIFU is a state-of-the-art technology ablation technique that has been used to treat thousands of cases of prostate cancer worldwide. 


Some of the advantages of using HIFU as your primary prostate cancer treatment are listed below:

  • No radiation exposure

  • Focal therapy, hemi-therapy or whole gland therapy can be performed

  • Outpatient procedure, no hospitalization

  • Epidural or spinal anesthesia is given, patient can go home the same day

  • Long term side effects are low, such as bleeding and frequency of urination

  • No cuts on the body

  • Most men are not impotent afterwards, which is common with other procedures

  • Can be performed on patients who have failed radiation

  • HIFU can be repeated in patients who have been treated already

  • Other radiation treatments or surgery can be performed along with HIFU

To learn more about prostate cancer and prostate anatomy, please click the following links for more information.

What is Prosate Cancer?

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Treatment Options

Early-Stage Prostate Cancer

  • Active Surveillance

  • Prostatectomy

    • Open – Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy (RRP)

    • Open – Radical Perineal Prostatectomy (RPP)

    • Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (LRP)

    • Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (RALP)

  • External Radiation Therapy

  • Brachytherapy

  • Cryosurgery

  • High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

Advanced Prostate Cancer

  • Androgen Deprivation Therapy

    • Bilateral Orchiectomy

    • LHRH Therapy

  • Antiandrogen Therapy

    • Estrogen Therapy

    • P450 Enzyme Inhibitors

Hormone-Resistant Prostate Cancer

  • Autologous Cellular Immunotherapy

  • Systemic Radiation Therapy

  • Estrogen Therapy

  • P450 Enzyme Inhibitors

  • Chemotherapy


Early-Stage Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is diagnosed as early-stage when cancer cells have not spread outside of the prostate. If you’ve been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer with a low risk of progression—or you’re not expected to tolerate other therapies—your doctor may recommend watchful waiting or active surveillance. Aggressive treatment options include various types of prostatectomy, radiation therapy, cryosurgery or high intensity focused ultrasound. The goal of all invasive options is to remove or destroy cancer cells before they can spread to other tissues in the body.

Watchful Waiting

Watchful waiting forgoes implementing therapy or treatment unless symptoms arise or the prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

Active Surveillance

Active surveillance includes monitoring the cancer with routine digital rectal exams (DREs), prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests and periodic biopsies. Active treatment, such as surgery or radiation therapy, does not occur unless there is evidence that the cancer is growing. Active surveillance is considered appropriate for some men with very low- or low-risk prostate cancer.



The surgical treatment for localized prostate cancer is a radical prostatectomy, an operation that removes the entire prostate along with both seminal vesicles and a portion of both vas deferens. Since it’s possible to perform this procedure without injuring the two pelvic nerves that enable an erection, the operation is referred to as a nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy and can be performed by a surgeon using any of the following four prostatectomy options. Outcomes may vary depending on the skill level and experience of the surgeon.

      Most often nerve sparing is used during early stages (Stages Tl and T2), when cancer cells are located only within the prostate.

Some surgeons are skilled in nerve-sparing techniques to maximize the preservation of nerves, muscles, organs, and other structures surrounding the prostate. If the nerves are not damaged during surgery, men have a better chance of having erections again between two and 18 months after the operation.


Potency rates following nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy vary widely among surgeons and academic centers. In the hands of a highly skilled surgeon performing the technique in a center with extensive experience in the procedure, potency rates are much higher than the rates seen in community practice.


Open – Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy (RRP)

An incision is made from just below the navel to the pelvic bone without damaging muscles. This allows the surgeon access to feel the prostate, surrounding tissues, and the pelvic lymph nodes, which can help the surgeon decide if a nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy is the best option based on the extent of the cancer. If all areas feel smooth, the nerves can be saved because they probably are not cancerous. However, if the surgeon feels a lump, hardness, or any other abnormality near the nerve, the safest approach is to remove one or both nerves. There is no completely accurate way to confirm whether or not cancer is present in a pelvic nerve unless the nerve is removed and analyzed by a pathologist.

Open – Radical Perineal Prostatectomy (RPP)

The incision for this procedure is between the scrotum and the anus. While there is less blood loss with this operation compared to the retropubic procedure outlined above, the surgeon still has the ability to feel along the pelvic nerves to determine whether they can be saved or must be removed. Recovery is generally faster compared to the RRP and patients have less blood loss.

Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (LRP)

Also referred to as “minimally invasive” or “keyhole surgery,” the operation begins by inserting a needle into the abdomen to inflate it with carbon dioxide thereby separating the abdominal wall from the organs and providing the space necessary to perform the surgery. Three or four small incisions are made in the lower abdomen as access for surgical instruments and a telescopic lens that projects images onto a video monitor. After the prostate has been cut away from the bladder and the urethra, it’s removed from the body through an incision made above the pubic bone.

Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (RALP)

As with the laparoscopic procedure described above, this operation also begins by inserting a needle into the abdomen to inflate it with carbon dioxide thereby separating the abdominal wall from the organs and providing the space necessary to perform the surgery. Three or four small incisions are made in the lower abdomen as access for surgical instruments and a telescopic lens that are attached to robotic arms, which are connected through special cables to instruments providing the surgeon with robotic control of the procedure through a three-dimensional view of the inside of the abdomen shown on a video monitor. After the prostate has been cut away from the bladder and the urethra, it’s removed from the body through an incision above the pubic bone.


Advantages of Prostatectomy

  • One-time procedure

  • May prevent spread of cancer to other tissues

  • May cure early-stage prostate cancer (if cancer cells are only located in the prostate)

  • Removes the prostate gland and the problem of future overgrowth of the prostate (called BPH—benign prostate hyperplasia—the non-malignant enlargement of the prostate)

  • May help extend life

  • When this operation is performed by an expert, the advantages are much more likely to occur, and the disadvantages are less likely to occur

Disadvantages of Prostatectomy

  • Requires hospitalization

  • May cause impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction, ED, the inability to get an erection of sufficient quality to penetrate or to fulfill the sexual act)

  • May cause incontinence (loss of urinary control)

  • May cause narrowing of the urethra, making urination difficult

  • When this operation is performed by a non-expert/caregiver, the disadvantages are more likely to occur

  • The operation carries a small risk of mortality

  • There is a 20% chance of short term morbidity (also look at under treatment results of HIFU Compared to surgery for further details)

External Beam Radiation

External beam radiation is a treatment for prostate cancer that uses a machine to deliver rays of high energy. It works on the DNA, which is contained in all living cells. DNA controls the ability of cells to divide. Cancer cells harm us because they continue to divide without stopping. The energy from radiation machines is so strong that it can damage the DNA in cancer cells, causing them to die or making them unable to divide. Cancers are treated with alpha, beta, proton and neutron particles; and gamma and x-ray waves. Prostate cancer is most commonly treated using gamma rays.

  • Used to treat prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate (Stages T1 and T2)

  • Often used in combination with hormone therapy if cancer cells have spread beyond the prostate to nearby tissues (Stage T3) or if the cancer is intermediate risk (PSA 10-20 ng/ml, Gleason 7, T2B)

  • May be used for pain relief in prostate cancer that is no longer responding to hormone therapy and has spread to other tissues in the body, primarily bones (Stage M+)

  • External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT): radiation is generated and administered by a machine outside the body, usually in brief daily sessions for several weeks.

  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) minimizes radiation damage to normal tissues by using a large number of narrow beams rather than a single wide beam thereby allowing for greater control of the dose of radiation.

  • 3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3DCRT) treatment allows closer targeting of the prostate gland. Uncontrolled studies suggest better outcomes with IMRT compared to 3dCRT; however, definitive proof is lacking at this time.

  • CyberKnife Robotic System is a non-invasive treatment option for prostate cancer that has the ability to deliver targeted and destructive doses of radiation from almost any angle to the body. It tracks tumor motion and automatically corrects the aim of the treatment beam when movement is detected. Studies have not determined if it offers clear clinical advantages. Read additional information at:

  • The Calypso Tracking System (GPS for the body) was designed to improve IMRT radiation by adjusting for any movement of the prostate by placing tiny sensors in the gland before the treatment begins to emit radiofrequency waves that allow for the very accurate alignment of a man’s prostate before each treatment session. It can also be used to monitor the position of the prostate at all times during radiation treatment delivery, objectively pinpointing the location of tumors and helping to minimize the amount of healthy tissue surrounding the prostate or prostate tumor that might be radiated due to organ movement.

  • Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) uses proton beams instead of x-rays to kill cancer. Proponents believe it offers an ability to deliver more precise radiation; however, so far no well-done study has demonstrated any clinical advantage over IMRT. In addition, it is far more costly. Recently, the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation (ASTRO) recommended that PBT for prostate cancer only be done as part of a randomized study or a multi-institutional data base. Learn more about PBT by visiting The National Association of Proton Therapy website.

  • Permanent Brachytherapy (“seeds”) introduces radiation from small radioactive seeds (about the size of a grain of rice),which are inserted directly into the prostate. The radiation emitted from the seeds gradually declines until they are no longer active. Seeds are inserted with the patient under anesthesia, and are too small to cause discomfort.

  • High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy provides short-term internal radiation that uses higher dosage, non-permanent seeds.

  • Systemic Radiation Therapy uses radiation delivered by the injection of a radioactive compound to control pain caused by metastasized (Stage M+) prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy.

Advantages of Radiation Therapy

    • Avoids major surgery

    • May cure prostate cancer in its early stages and may help extend life or eliminate symptoms in later stages

    • Most side effects are minor and disappear after therapy stops, especially when the latest IMRT and seeds techniques and equipment are used

Disadvantages of Radiation Therapy

    • Organs naturally move during treatment and your doctor can’t predict which way or how much your organs will move. Organ movement can be caused by breathing, gas in the intestines or rectum, blood flow through the circulatory system and other natural bodily functions. When your organs move, the tumor may not get the right amount of radiation or other nearby organs may receive radiation they shouldn’t get.

    • May cause damage to healthy cells, leading to side effects

      • Tiredness

      • Skin reactions

      • Frequent and painful urination

      • Upset stomach

      • Diarrhea

      • Rectal irritation or bleeding

      • Urinary incontinence

      • Erectile dysfunction

      • Small increased risk of bladder and colon cancer

    • A small percentage of patients will have significant bleeding from the bladder many years after prostate radiation treatment. This is called hemorragic radiation cystitis


Cryotherapy uses very cold temperatures to kill prostate cancer cells.

    • Technique has improved since first introduced in the 1960s

    • Used to treat localized prostate cancer (Stages T1 and T2) and recurrent cancer following radiation therapy

    • Freezes and immediately kills prostate cancer cells

    • Performed under anesthesia, uses ultrasound-guided placement of cooling probes into the prostate


  • Hormone therapy can be used prior to cryosurgery to decrease prostate size

  • Long-term effectiveness is not well known

Advantages of Cryosurgery

    • Avoids major surgery

    • Less likely to cause urinary tract damage, obstructions, or bowel difficulties than radiation

    • Procedure takes an hour and a half or less and patients often fully recover within days


  • This procedure is becoming more reliable and with less complication in the hands of an expert

Disadvantages of Cryosurgery

  • Impotence due to nerve damage is a common occurrence

  • Urinary incontinence can occur but is rare

  • Approximately 2% of men develop an abnormal tissue mass (fistula) that connects the rectum and the bladder that may require surgery to repair

  • When this procedure is not performed by an expert, or without the most current equipment or techniques, the disadvantages are more likely to occur

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

HIFU is a treatment that uses the energy from ultrasound waves to produce very high temperatures of about 100°C or 212°F delivered to the prostate through a probe inserted into the rectum after spinal or epidural anesthesia has been administered.

  • Probe emits a beam of high intensity focused ultrasound

  • At the point where the ultrasound is focused (focal point) the sudden and intense absorption of the ultrasound beam quickly raises the temperature which destroys targeted cells

  • The area destroyed by each beam is very small and precise

  • By repeating the process and moving the focal point it is possible to destroy the prostate tissue

  • The treatment takes from 1 to 3 hours depending upon the size of the prostate and is usually performed on an outpatient basis

Advantages of HIFU

  • Destruction of the cancerous tissue with no risk of injury to the surrounding organs

  • No chance of rectal injury

  • Patient does not undergo any radiation exposure

  • Usually no hospital stay is required

  • Treatment is performed under spinal or epidural anesthesia

  • Treatment can be repeated if necessary

  • Other therapeutic alternatives can be considered in case of incomplete results

  • Nerve sparing procedure can be performed

  • HIFU can be used for the treatment of local recurrences (i.e. after external beam radiotherapy)

Disadvantages of HIFU

    • No pathology (no tissue) to be examined following the procedure

    • Not covered by many insurance plans.

    • HIFU treatment does not preclude other treatments. In those developing a recurrence, they remain candidates for surgery, radiation or hormone therapy.

    • The long term data on results is still under evaluation. Short term 5-10 year data appears to be comparable to surgery and radiation.



Further information about HIFU can be found at,, and


Hormone Therapy

Prostate cancer cells require male hormones (such as testosterone) to grow. Hormone therapy decreases production of testosterone by the testicles so that cancer cell growth slows down. The term most commonly used for this treatment is called androgen deprivation therapy or ADT.

  • May also be used in early stage prostate cancer (Stage T2) in combination with radiation therapy or prior to surgery to reduce the size of the prostate and make it easier to remove

  • Types of hormone therapy:

    • Surgical removal of the testicles (bilateral orchiectomy)

    • Drug treatment that reduces testosterone levels, reduces the effect of testosterone or adrenal androgens from acting on the prostate, or reduces conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a powerful stimulus for prostate cell growth

  • Common side effects of reducing male hormone activity by hormone therapy (listed in order of most to least common):

      • Osteoporosis (bone weakening)

      • Loss of muscle mass and increase of body fat

      • Hot flashes

      • Reduced libido

      • Impotence

      • Anemia (decreased level of red blood cells)

      • Depression

      • Gynecomastia (breast enlargement)


Advanced Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is advanced when cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body—or metastasized. When cancer has spread beyond the prostate, complete removal of the prostate or destruction of cancer tissue by radiation or cryosurgery is uncommon. For stage T3 and T4 prostate cancer, studies show that combining ADT with radiation can improve survival.

Types of Hormone (Androgen Deprivation) Therapies

Bilateral orchiectomy is an operation that removes both testicles, which produce 95% of the body’s testosterone.

  • Simple orchiectomy is the removal of both testicles through a cut (incision) in the front of the scrotum. If desired, artificial testicles (saline implants) can be put into the scrotum.

  • Subcapsular orchiectomy is the removal of the tissue from the lining of the testicles where testosterone is made. This leaves a nearly normal-looking scrotum.

Advantages of Orchiectomy

  • One-time procedure

  • Effective, permanent reduction in testosterone

  • Patients typically go home the same day as the surgery

  • Cost (relatively inexpensive) and convenience

Disadvantages of Orchiectomy

  • Side effects, such as reduced or absent sexual desire, impotence, and hot flashes and emotional impact make this procedure difficult for some patients to accept, although side effects are the same as with medical castration

  • Irreversible surgical procedure

  • In some cases, may require hospitalization

  • Will not allow for intermittent androgen deprivation (IAD) therapy

LHRH Therapy

The administration of an injectable luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist or antagonist that causes a drop in testosterone levels in the body.

Currently available LHRH agonists:

    • Lupron® (leuprolide acetate)

    • Eligard® (leuprolide acetate)

    • Viadur® (leuprolide acetate implant)

    • Vantas® (histrelin implant)

    • Zoladex® (goserelin acetate)

    • Trelstar™ (triptorelin)


Advantages of LHRH Agonists

    • Easy administration of injections monthly or every 1, 3, 4, 6 or 12 months

    • Treatment with LHRH agonists is as effective as orchiectomy in reducing testosterone levels

    • Side effects can be reversible upon termination of the treatment so as to allow IAD therapy


Disadvantages of LHRH Agonists

  • Side effects of hormone therapy may be difficult to treat and hard for some people to accept

  • Testosterone level rises during first two weeks of initiating therapy (flare response), which may cause increase in cancer symptoms in some men

  • Requires injections every 1, 3, 4, 6, or 12 months

  • One main side effect is hot flashes which many men find bothersome

    • These hot flashes can be treated with a variety of medications including low dose estrogen and progesterone

    • There are other new treatments that use other agents

GnRH Therapy

The administration of an injectable gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) receptor antagonist provides rapid, profound and sustained, suppression of testosterone.

Currently available GnRH receptor antagonists:

  • Firmagon® (degarelix for injection) – indicated for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer (similar indication as LHRH agonists)

Advantages of GnRH Receptor Antagonists

  • Reduces testosterone levels quickly without the initial “testosterone surge” seen with an LHRH agonist

  • Antiandrogen therapy is not needed to prevent possible flare symptoms

  • Reversibly binds to the GnRH receptors in the pituitary gland, immediately suppressing the secretion of the luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and subsequently, testosterone and PSA levels

  • GnRH receptor antagonists are at least as effective as LHRH agonists in sustaining castrate levels or lowering of testosterone

  • Easy subcutaneous (just under the abdomen skin) injections monthly

Disadvantages of GnRH Receptor Antagonist

  • Overall rate of adverse reactions is similar to leuprolide

  • Injection site reactions were mostly transient and of mild to moderate intensity, except for initial treatment

  • Must be given monthly

Antiandrogen Therapy

The administration of a drug called an antiandrogen that blocks the action of male hormones, including testosterone and androgens released by the adrenal glands.

Used in combination with LHRH agonist therapy in a strategy called maximal androgen blockade (MAB) or combined androgen blockade (CAB). The anti-androgen is continued until the PSA rises. Studies show longer survival with MAB compared to ADT alone. When PSA rises, stopping anti-androgen can result in short-term benefit. You can read or join discussions about CAB at the CHB bulletin board.

Currently available antiandrogens in the U.S.:

  • Casodex® (bicalutamide)

  • Eulexin® (flutamide)

  • Nilandron® (nilutamide)

Advantages of Antiandrogen Therapy

  • May provide a small survival advantage over either orchiectomy or LHRH analog therapy alone

Disadvantages of Antiandrogen Therapy

  • In addition to common side effects of hormone therapy, you also may develop

    • Breast pain or enlargement

    • Diarrhea

    • Gastrointestinal pain

    • Anemia

    • Adverse effects on liver function (possible elevation of liver enzymes that must be monitored)

5-alpha Reductase (5-AR) Inhibitors

Block conversion of testosterone to DHT, a more potent stimulator of prostate cell growth than testosterone.

Currently available 5-AR inhibitors:

  • Proscar®, Propecia® (finasteride) – reduces DHT levels in the blood by 70% and 80%-90% on prostate

  • Avodart® (dutasteride)– reduces DHT levels in the blood by 98% and can slow prostate cell growth

Advantages of 5-AR Inhibitors

  • Reduces the normal prostate cell growth and prostate size

  • May reduce the risk of recurrence following surgery

Disadvantages of 5-AR Inhibitors

  • Not approved as a treatment for prostate cancer

  • No evidence it influences survival of men

  • Causes only modest reductions in PSA levels (15-20%) when used alone

Estrogen Therapy

Administration of estrogen hormones lowers testosterone production and has some direct apoptotic effects on both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells.

Currently available estrogen therapies:

  • DES (diethylstilbestrol)

  • Stilphosterol® (stilbestrol diphosphate)

  • Estraderm® patch (estradiol) – only one small-scale trial has investigated the benefits of delivering estrogen through the skin (transdermal) to block testosterone production in men with prostate cancer. In that study, the patch was successful in reducing testosterone levels, with fewer cardiovascular or other side effects (gynomastia). Phase III trials are currently comparing the effects of patch and injected forms of estrogen in men with prostate cancer.

Advantages of Estrogen Therapy

  • Does not cause bone loss

  • Dose not induce androgen-independent cancer growth

  • Can dramatically slow the growth of some prostate cancer cell types

  • Inexpensive

Disadvantages of Estrogen Therapy

  • Will cause gynecomastia, unless prevented by breast irradiation

  • Depending on the route of administration, it may promote hypercoagulation of blood, causing blood clots in the legs, lungs, heart, and brain

  • May cause heart attacks

  • No evidence that blood thinners significantly reduce risk of clots

  • Causes decreased libido and impotence

  • Risk of cardiovascular side effects is reduced when treatment is given as patch or injectable drug rather than by mouth

P450 Enzyme Inhibitors

The P450 enzymes are involved in the synthesis of several hormones, including testosterone, that stimulate prostate cancer cell growth. Inhibitors of these enzymes can decrease the levels of testosterone and adrenal androgens, and have direct cytotoxic effects on prostate cancer cells.

Available P450 enzyme inhibitors:

  • Nizoral® (ketoconazole used in combination with hydrocortisone)

Advantages of P450 Enzyme Inhibitors

  • May still be useful in men for whom CAB has failed (who are androgen resistant)

  • Reduces both testicular testosterone and adrenal androgen production

  • Additional cytotoxic effect on prostate cancer cells

Disadvantages of P450 Enzyme Inhibitors

  • Not approved in U.S. for treatment of prostate cancer

  • Requires continued use of LHRH agonists or estrogen therapy to block pituitary stimulation of testicular hormone production (unless the patient had an orchiectomy)

  • Non-selective effects on other cells may cause discomfort (nausea, gastric irritation)

  • May have significant adverse effects on liver function (must measure liver enzymes)​​


This information will only be used to provide you with information about HIFU. Your information will not be shared.

Hormone-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer that is no longer responsive to hormone therapy is referred to as hormone-resistant prostate cancer, hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC), castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) or androgen-independent prostate cancer. Several new therapies have been approved in the past several years to treat CRPC. More studies are needed to determine the optimal sequencing of these new treatments.

Zytiga® (Abiraterone Acetate)

Oral agent that has been approved in combination with prednisone for CRPC. It acts by inhibiting an enzyme complex called CYP-17 that is necessary for producing testosterone. Studies show that this enzyme is present in the adrenal gland and in prostate cancer cells.


  • Oral agent

  • Prolongs survival in men with CRPC


  • Must be given with prednisone

  • Must be taken on an empty stomach

  • Costly

  • Side effects occur including hypertension, increased potassium level and fluid retention

For more information about Zytiga, visit

XTANDI® (Enzalutamide)

Oral agent that has been approved for men with CRPC after they progress on chemotherapy. The FDA is currently considering an approval for men prior to chemotherapy. It works by interfering with androgen receptor signaling in prostate cancer cells.


  • Oral Agent

  • Prolongs survival


  • Side effects can occur including asthenia/fatigue, back pain, diarrhea, arthralgia, hot flush, peripheral edema, musculoskeletal pain

  • Costly

  • May increase risk of seizures

For more information about XTANDI, visit

Autologous Cellular Immunotherapy

Provenge® (sipuleucel-T) can be prescribed for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castrate resistant (hormone refractory) prostate cancer. Provenge is the first in a new class of autologous cellular immunotherapies that use a patient’s own antigen-presenting cells (APCs) to stimulate the body’s immune system against prostate cance. Provenge is given by intravenous (IV) infusion in three doses, approximately two weeks apart over the span of a month. Blood is collected a few days prior to each infusion. Total course of therapy is generally completed in four to six weeks.


  • Minimal typical side effects compared to other treatment options

  • Prolongs survival of men with CRPC

  • Does not interfere with effectiveness of other therapies

  • Therapy completed quickly


  • The most common side effects reported with Provenge treatment (usually occurring within the first few days of treatment) are: chills, fatigue, fever, back pain, nausea, joint ache and headache; other side effects are also possible

  • In a very small number of men, Provenge can cause severe acute reactions resulting from the infusion, which typically occur within one day of infusion

  • Does not lower PSA or produce measurable objective response

  • Costly, but covered by most insurance companies, including Medicare

For more information on Provenge, visit

Systemic Radiation Therapy

Xofigo® (Radium-223) was recently approved for the treatment of symptomatic bone metastases in men with CRPC.



  • Treatment administered as a one-time injection

  • Significantly improves survival in men with symptomatic bone metastases

  • Patients still eligible for chemotherapy


  • Side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood counts

See the sections on radiation therapy and treating pain associated with advanced prostate cancer for more details.

For more information on Xofigo, visit


The administration of powerful toxic drugs that circulate throughout the body and eliminate rapidly growing cancer cells

  • Also affect rapidly growing healthy cells, which can lead to side effects

  • Dose and frequency of chemotherapy treatments are carefully controlled to minimize harm to healthy cells

  • Reserved for patients with advanced stage cancer that does not respond to hormone therapy (Stage M+)

  • Currently available chemotherapy drugs indicated for prostate cancer:

    • Taxotere® (docetaxel)- Phase III randomized studies have shown that Taxotere in combination with either Prednisone or Estramustine can significantly improve survival on average by 2 months in patients with hormone resistant prostate cancer

    • Jevtana®(cabazitaxel) – indicated in combination with prednisone for the treatment of patients with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer (mHRPC) previously treated with a docetaxel-based treatment regimen

    • Novantrone® (mitoxantrone; specifically approved for hormone resistant prostate cancer)- Studies show it improves quality of life but does not increase survival

    • Emcyt® (estramustine)

Advantages of Chemotherapy

  • May prolong survival

  • Provides cancer symptom improvement

Disadvantages of Chemotherapy

  • Side effects

    • Hair loss

    • Nausea

    • Vomiting

    • Diarrhea

    • Anemia

    • Reduced blood clotting

    • Increased risk of infection

    • Lowered white cell count