Prostate Cancer

  • Medical Author: Pamela I. Ellsworth, MD
  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Quick GuideProstate Cancer Symptoms, PSA Test, Treatments

Prostate Cancer Symptoms, PSA Test, Treatments

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy or "chemo" for prostate cancer involves the use of medications either in pill form or by injection into the veins, which can kill or at least slow the growth of metastatic prostate cancer cells. It does not presently have a role in the treatment of early stage prostate cancer except as part of clinical trials/research studies. The use of chemotherapy in metastatic prostate cancer is presently not a potentially curative treatment, but it can relieve symptoms of prostate cancer, and can prolong life. It is usually used in the setting of CRPC - castration- (medical or surgical) resistant prostate cancer.

Chemotherapy drugs work in many different ways. These drugs may damage the DNA of the cancer cells or disrupt the cells ability to divide (mitosis). These effects can cause cells to die. Not all prostate cancer cells may be sensitive to these drugs, but some may be. A tumor (a mass of cancer cells) will shrink if more cells are killed and removed than continue to grow and divide. As many normal tissues in the body also undergo the same patterns of growth and mitosis, these drugs have numerous side effects due to their effects on normal tissues.

Active chemotherapy drugs for the treatment of prostate cancer today include:

Although traditionally recommended for men with castrate-resistant prostate cancer, the NCCN recommended the use of docetaxel in combination with ADT and EBRT in men with high- and very-high-risk localized prostate cancer.

When these types of drugs are given to patients with prostate cancer they can help reduce pain and shrink tumors. Patients who respond to these drugs often live longer than those who do not respond.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/9/2016

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