According to an article recently published in the International Journal of Urology, hormone therapy for patients with early or locally advanced prostate cancer results in impressive long-term outcomes.
The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. It produces some of the fluid that transports sperm during ejaculation. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in men. Localized prostate cancer refers to cancer that has not spread from the prostate, and locally advanced prostate cancer refers to cancer that has spread outside the prostate to nearby tissues but not to distant sites in the body.
Hormone therapy, also known as androgen deprivation therapy, is designed to block testosterone from stimulating the growth of prostate cancer.
Among men with metastatic prostate cancer (cancer that has spread beyond the prostate to distant sites in the body), horme therapy is often used to relieve symptoms. Hormone therapy may also improve survival for some men with earlier stage prostate cancer; however, the optimal timing of hormone therapy in prostate cancer is still being evaluated in order to weigh side effects of therapy against outcomes.
Hormone therapy can be achieved through the use of medications such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists or by surgically removing the testicles (bilateral orchiectomy).
Researchers from Japan recently reviewed data including 628 men with localized or locally advanced prostate cancer who were treated with hormone therapy. They reported the following results:
- At eight years only approximately 10% of patients had died from prostate cancer.
- Patients with a prostate specific antigen (PSA) level of 20 ng/mL or less, those with a Gleason score of 7 or less, and those who achieved their lowest PSA level within six months of treatment demonstrated that greatest response to hormone therapy. Only 1% of these patients had died from prostate cancer at eight years
The researchers concluded that hormone therapy for treatment of patients with localized or locally advanced prostate cancer appears to provide effective long-term outcomes among these patients.
Patients with prostate cancer may wish to discuss their individual risks and benefits of all treatment options with their physician.
Reference: Ueno S, Namiki M, Fukagai T, et al. Efficacy of Primary Hormonal Therapy for Patients with Localized and Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer: A Retrospective Multicenter Study. International Journal of Urology. 2006; 13: 1494-1500.
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