7 Breakthroughs in Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Cindy Kuzma on August 15, 2021
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    A New Era in Treating Prostate Cancer
    In recent years, scientists have made several landmark discoveries in the field of prostate cancer treatment. New therapies are emerging, and improvements are being made to existing regimens so they work better. Read more about the treatments that offer new hope for men whose cancer has spread.
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    1. Vaccines
    Usually vaccines prevent infections. But new types of immunizations actually fight existing prostate cancer. They work by boosting the body's immune system so it selectively attacks cancer cells. One vaccine, sipuleucel-T (Provenge), is already available for men with advanced, castration-resistant prostate cancer. Others look promising in early clinical trials. What's more, the vaccines appear to have few side effects.
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    2. Targeted Radiation Therapy
    Radiation treatment uses high-energy beams to destroy tumors. New and improved techniques focus on cancer cells while sparing healthy, surrounding tissue. For instance, conformal radiation therapy (CRT) and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) use computers to map the prostate and deliver radiation to the right location.
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    3. New Hormone Therapies: Abiraterone Acetate (Zytiga)
    Men whose cancers continue to grow despite other treatments may benefit from this drug. It blocks an enzyme called CYP17, thereby preventing a man's body from producing cancer-fueling hormones. The pill is taken daily and has been shown to shrink tumors and help men live longer.
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    4. New Hormone Therapies: Enzalutamide
    Enzalutamide (Xtandi) is FDA-approved for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Doctors are excited about the potential for this drug to make a difference in the lives of many castration-resistant prostate cancer patients. It works by attaching itself to hormone receptors on cancer cells, preventing testosterone and other hormones from helping cancer to grow.
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    5. New Chemotherapies: Cabazitaxel (Jevtana)
    The most commonly used anticancer drugs don't work for every man, or sometimes stop working after a while. Cabazitaxel seems to slip by the defense mechanisms of prostate cancer cells, slowing cancer growth so men with advanced cancer live longer. It also reduces cancer-related symptoms so these men live better.
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    6. New Medications: Angiogenesis Inhibitors
    Cancer cells need a blood supply to survive and thrive. Drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors stop tumors from sprouting new blood vessels, starving them of oxygen and nutrients. Angiogenesis inhibitors used to treat patients with other cancers—including thalidomide (Thalomid) and bevacizumab (Avastin)—are now being tested for advanced prostate cancer.
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    7. Nerve Grafts
    Many men choose to have their prostates surgically removed to treat prostate cancer. But often nerves must be cut as well, leading to sexual side effects, such as impotence. Doctors are now trying to graft healthy nerves taken from other body sites to replace the ones that were cut and restore men's sexual function.
7 Breakthroughs in Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer

About The Author

  1. Prostate Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version. National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/patient/prostate-treatment-pdq
  2. If You Have Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/if-you-have-prostate-cancer.html
  3. Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer.html
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Last Review Date: 2021 Aug 15
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