Hormone Treatment Fights Prostate Cancer
The Future of Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer
Some experts aren't sure how much further we can improve hormone therapy for
"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
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
"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."
While experts debate the best way to use hormone therapy for prostate
cancer, they do agree on the strides we've made in treating this disease.
Improved detection and treatment -- like hormone therapy -- have really changed
"Prostate cancer is really a different disease than it was 15 years
ago," says Thrasher. "Men who have recurrent prostate cancer are living
so much longer than they used to."
Published May 2005.