What Is Intermittent Adt
Researchers have investigated whether a technique called intermittent androgen deprivation can delay the development of hormone resistance. With intermittent androgen deprivation, hormone therapy is given in cycles with breaks between drug administrations, rather than continuously. An additional potential benefit of this approach is that the temporary break from the side effects of hormone therapy may improve a mans quality of life.
Randomized clinical trials have shown similar overall survival with continuous ADT or intermittent ADT among men with metastatic or recurrent prostate cancer, with a reduction in some side effects for intermittent ADT .
Intermittent Versus Continuous Hormone Therapy
Most prostate cancers treated with hormone therapy become resistant to this treatment over a period of months or years. Some doctors believe that constant androgen suppression might not be needed, so they advise intermittent treatment. This can allow for a break from side effects like decreased energy, sexual problems, and hot flashes.
In one form of intermittent hormone therapy, treatment is stopped once the PSA drops to a very low level. If the PSA level begins to rise, the drugs are started again. Another form of intermittent therapy uses hormone therapy for fixed periods of time for example, 6 months on followed by 6 months off.
At this time, it isnt clear how this approach compares to continuous hormone therapy. Some studies have found that continuous therapy might help men live longer, but other studies have not found such a difference.
Types Of Hormonal Therapies
There are 3 types of hormonal therapies for the treatment of prostate cancer. They may be used alone or together.
- Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists block the signal from your pituitary gland that tells your testicles to make testosterone. Leuprolide and goserelin are LHRH agonists. Theyre given by injection either once a month or every 3, 4, or 6 months.
- Anti-androgens are medications that block testosterone from attaching to cancer cells. This keeps it from helping cancer cells grow. One example of an anti-androgen is bicalutamide . This is a pill you take once a day.
- If youre taking bicalutamide, make sure you take it at the same time every day, with or without food.
- Your healthcare team will tell you when to start taking this medication.
What Are The Side Effects Of Hormone Therapy For Prostate Cancer
Because androgens affect many other organs besides the prostate, ADT can have a wide range of side effects , including:
- loss of interest in sex
Studer UE, Whelan P, Albrecht W, et al. Immediate or deferred androgen deprivation for patients with prostate cancer not suitable for local treatment with curative intent: European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Trial 30891. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2006 24:18681876.
Zelefsky MJ, Eastham JA, Sartor AO. Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. In: Vincent T. DeVita J, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles & Practice of Oncology, 9e. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2011.
Smith MR, Saad F, Chowdhury S, et al. Apalutamide and overall survival in prostate cancer. European Urology 2021 79:150158.
If Treatment Does Not Work
Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.
This diagnosis is stressful, and for some people, advanced cancer may be difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.
People who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment, including a hospital bed, can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.
After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.
You May Like: Does Masturbation Prevent Prostate Cancer
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Orgovyx
Serious side effects of ORGOVYX include:
- Changes in the electrical activity of your heart . Your healthcare provider may check your body salts and the electrical activity of your heart during treatment with ORGOVYX. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any signs or symptoms of QT prolongation, including:
- feeling that your heart is pounding or racing
ORGOVYX may cause other side effects including weight gain, decreased sex drive, and erectile function problems.
ORGOVYX may cause fertility problems in males, which may affect your ability to father children. Talk to your healthcare provider if this is a concern for you.
These are not all the possible side effects of ORGOVYX. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects or if you have a side effect that bothers you or does not go away.
You may report side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call .
Dont Miss: Where Is The Prostate Located In A Man
Checking Your Hormone Therapy Is Working
You have regular blood tests to check the level of a protein called prostate specific antigen . PSA is a protein made by both normal and cancerous prostate cells. It is in the blood in small amounts in all men, unless you have had the prostate gland completely removed.
While the hormone therapy is working, the level of PSA should stay stable or may go down. But if prostate cancer starts to grow and develop, the level of PSA may go up. This is hormone resistant prostate cancer or castrate resistant prostate cancer. Then your doctor may need to change your treatment. They will discuss this with you
You May Like: Where Is The Prostate Gland And What Is Its Function
Heres What The Results Showed
After a median follow-up of just over 10 years, 9.7% of men who were treated with radiation and leuporelin for 18 months had died from prostate cancer, compared to 13.3% of the men treated with radiation and leuporelin for six months. Adding zoledronic acid made no difference in either case.
The authors concluded that hormonal therapy is more effective at preventing prostate cancer death when its given for 18 months rather than six. And similar benefits were noted for other endpoints as well. For instance, prostate tumors were less likely to metastasize, or spread, among men in the longer duration treatment group, and it took longer for their cancers to become resistant to hormone therapy if it was reinitiated later.
In earlier clinical research, scientists discovered that hormonal therapy given for three years protects against prostate cancer death more effectively than a six-month treatment regimen. But three years of hormone therapy isnt easily tolerated, and evidence so far shows that 10-year survival rates after either 18 months or three years of hormonal therapy are similar, the authors of the new study claim.
About the Author
Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Degarelix injection is used to treat advanced prostate cancer . Degarelix injection is in a class of medications called gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor antagonists. It works by decreasing the amount of testosterone produced by the body. This may slow or stop the spread of prostate cancer cells that need testosterone to grow.
Dont Miss: Can Stage 2 Prostate Cancer Be Cured
Recommended Reading: How Do They Check For Prostate Cancer
Mental And Emotional Health
A cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment may affect how you feel mentally and emotionally. Hormone therapy can cause:
- A drop in mental sharpness
If you have any of these side effects, your doctor may recommend medication, counseling, or both.
Research shows that hormone therapy for prostate cancer may lead to problems with short-term memory, language, thinking, and concentration. But these problems are usually mild. Researchers are still studying the effect of hormone therapy on the brain.
When you stop taking hormone therapy, emotional and mental side effects usually disappear. But if youâve taken the drugs for many years, they may not fully go away.
When Is Hormone Therapy Used
Hormone therapy may be used:
- If the cancer has spread too far to be cured by surgery or radiation, or if you cant have these treatments for some other reason
- If the cancer remains or comes back after treatment with surgery or radiation therapy
- Along with radiation therapy as the initial treatment, if you are at higher risk of the cancer coming back after treatment
- Before radiation to try to shrink the cancer to make treatment more effective
Recommended Reading: Is Stage 4 Prostate Cancer Curable
The Future Of Hormone Therapy For Prostate Cancer
Some experts aren’t sure how much further we can improve hormone therapy for prostate cancer.
“I’m not saying that we’ve reached the end of what we can do with hormonal therapy,” Thrasher tells WebMD, “but there are only so many ways to shut down the hormonal effects. The cancer will still eventually escape.”
Brooks argues that, overall, prostate cancer is only moderately affected by hormones. “You can only do so much manipulating the levels of hormones,” says Brooks. “We have to find better ways to fight the basis of the cancer cells.”
Thrasher and Brooks have more hope that the next breakthroughs will come with different approaches, like chemotherapy or vaccines.
But Holden remains optimistic about the future of hormone therapy for prostate cancer.
“Cancer cells eventually figure out how to survive, how to overcome a specific hormone therapy,” he says. “But if we have enough types of drugs and can keep changing the hormone therapy, we might be able to keep the cancer cells in a state of confusion. We could change therapies before they have a chance to adapt.”
“It’s like an endless chess game,” he says. “You may not ever win, but you might be able to prolong the game indefinitely. I think that hormone therapy still has a lot of promise. We just need to develop better anti-androgens, and more varieties of them.”
Early Versus Delayed Treatment
For men who need hormone therapy, such as men whose PSA levels are rising after surgery or radiation or men with advanced prostate cancer who dont yet have symptoms, its not always clear when it is best to start hormone treatment. Some doctors think that hormone therapy works better if its started as soon as possible, even if a man feels well and is not having any symptoms. Some studies have shown that hormone treatment may slow the disease down and perhaps even help men live longer.
But not all doctors agree with this approach. Some are waiting for more evidence of benefit. They feel that because of the side effects of hormone therapy and the chance that the cancer could become resistant to therapy sooner, treatment shouldnt be started until a man has symptoms from the cancer. This issue is being studied.
Also Check: Can Enlarged Prostate Be Cured
Thinking About Taking Part In A Clinical Trial
Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. Still, theyre not right for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials.
How Does Hormone Therapy Work Against Prostate Cancer
Early in their development, prostate cancers need androgens to grow. Hormone therapies, which are treatments that decrease androgen levels or block androgen action, can inhibit the growth of such prostate cancers, which are therefore called castration sensitive, androgen dependent, or androgen sensitive.
Most prostate cancers eventually stop responding to hormone therapy and become castration resistant. That is, they continue to grow even when androgen levels in the body are extremely low or undetectable. In the past, these tumors were also called hormone resistant, androgen independent, or hormone refractory however, these terms are rarely used now because the tumors are not truly independent of androgens for their growth. In fact, some newer hormone therapies have become available that can be used to treat tumors that have become castration resistant.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Hospital To Treat Prostate Cancer
Read Also: What Are Some Symptoms Of Prostate Problems
Intermittent Hormonal Therapy For Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer
Intermittent hormonal therapy is where you stop taking the drugs and after a while start taking them again. This may be an option for locally-advanced prostate cancer. It gives you a break from the side effects of hormonal therapy.
Intermittent hormonal therapy is not suitable for everyone and should only be done on your doctors advice. Your doctor can explain more about this. They usually measure your PSA level using the PSA test every 3 months. If it goes up to a certain level or you get symptoms, your doctor will advise you to start hormonal therapy again.
When Hormone Therapy Is Indicated
HT can be administered before, during or after a localized treatment, such as radical prostatectomy, radiation, high-intensity focused ultrasound or cryotherapy. When given before a localized treatment, it is called neoadjuvant therapy. When given after localized treatment without evidence of prostate cancer recurrence, it is called adjuvant therapy. When HT is prescribed after localized treatment for a prostate cancer recurrence, it is called salvage therapy. If a patient’s PSA starts rising after a radical prostatectomy, HT is typically given in combination with radiation therapy. Treatment recommendations are based on each patient’s specific circumstances.
Sometimes we give neoadjuvant HT while the patient is deciding on his primary treatment or to reduce the tumor’s size before starting primary treatment. Neoadjuvant HT will usually slow or stop cancer growth for a period of time.
Many radiation oncologists use HT along with radiation treatment in the belief that HT weakens cancer cells so that they’re more susceptible to destruction by the radiation. Clinical studies have suggested a synergy between radiation therapy and hormone therapy meaning they work better together. Clinical trials have shown improved outcomes for patients who receive combined therapy.
Recommended Reading: When Should You Start Getting Prostate Exams
Drugs That Stop Androgens From Working
For most prostate cancer cells to grow, androgens have to attach to a protein in the prostate cancer cell called an androgen receptor. Anti-androgens are drugs that also connect to these receptors, keeping the androgens from causing tumor growth. Anti-androgens are also sometimes called androgen receptor antagonists.
Drugs of this type include:
They are taken daily as pills.
In the United States, anti-androgens are not often used by themselves:
- An anti-androgen may be added to treatment if orchiectomy or an LHRH agonist or antagonist is no longer working by itself.
- An anti-androgen is also sometimes given for a few weeks when an LHRH agonist is first started. This can help prevent a tumor flare.
- An anti-androgen can also be combined with orchiectomy or an LHRH agonist as first-line hormone therapy. This is called combined androgen blockade . There is still some debate as to whether CAB is more effective in this setting than using orchiectomy or an LHRH agonist alone. If there is a benefit, it appears to be small.
- In some men, if an anti-androgen is no longer working, simply stopping the anti-androgen can cause the cancer to stop growing for a short time. This is called the anti-androgen withdrawal effect, although it is not clear why it happens.
Enzalutamide , apalutamide and darolutamide are newer types of anti-androgens. They can sometimes be helpful even when older anti-androgens are not.
These drugs are taken as pills each day.
What Happens If I Stop Lupron Depot
If Lupron treatment is stopped, testosterone levels can rise and your cancer may worsen. Do not discontinue Lupron Depot unless your doctor tells you to stop treatment.
In men, testosterone is reduced to castrate concentrations with Lupron Depot treatment. This is called medical castration, as opposed to surgical castration when the testicles are removed surgically. The testicles make most of the testosterone in a man, about 95%. The adrenal glands above the kidney also produce a small amount of testosterone.
In patients with advanced prostate cancer, you may also receive other medicines along with Lupron Depot. These may include chemotherapy drugs, immunotherapy or targeted drug treatments, or corticosteroids depending upon your stage of cancer.
You may experience side effects with Lupron Depot treatment such as:
- hot flashes or sweats
Also Check: What Happens If Prostate Is Removed
Who Can Have Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy is an option for many people with prostate cancer, but its used in different ways depending on whether your cancer has spread.
Localised prostate cancer
If your cancer hasnt spread outside the prostate , you might have hormone therapy alongside your main treatment. Hormone therapy can shrink the prostate and any cancer inside it, which makes the cancer easier to treat. It can also make your main treatment more effective. You might have hormone therapy:
- for six months before, during or after external beam radiotherapy
- for up to three years after external beam radiotherapy, if there is a risk of your cancer spreading outside the prostate
- for a few months before starting permanent seed brachytherapy, and before and after high dose-rate brachytherapy both are types of internal radiotherapy
- before having high-intensity focused ultrasound .
Hormone therapy is not usually given to men having surgery to remove their prostate .
Read more about localised prostate cancer.
Locally advanced prostate cancer
If your cancer has spread to the area just outside the prostate , you may have hormone therapy before, during and after radiotherapy. Hormone therapy can help shrink the prostate and any cancer that has spread, and make the treatment more effective.
You may be offered hormone therapy for up to six months before radiotherapy. And you may continue to have hormone therapy during and after your radiotherapy, for up to three years.
Advanced prostate cancer