Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Select An Article

Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer

Font Size

Provenge for Advanced Prostate Cancer continued...

Provenge bypasses these problems. The treatment first removes a quantity of dendritic cells from a patient's blood. Dendritic cells show pieces of tumor to immune cells, priming them to attack cells that carry those pieces.

The patient's doctor ships the cells to Provenge's manufacturer, Dendreon, which then exposes them to Provenge. Provenge is a molecule made inside genetically engineered insect cells.

Once these cells have been exposed to Provenge, they're shipped back to the doctor who infuses them back into the patient. This is done three times in one month. The first infusion primes the immune system. The second and third doses spur an anticancer immune response.

The most common side effect is chills, which occurs in more than half of the men that receive Provenge. Other common side effects include fatigue, fever, back pain, and nausea. Provenge has been remarkably safe. However, clinical trials suggest that the treatment might be linked to a slightly increased risk of stroke.

Endocrine Drugs for Prostate Cancer

Drugs work as well as prostate cancer surgery (orchiectomy -- removal of the testicles) to reduce the level of hormones in the body. Most men opt for drug therapy rather than surgery. The three types of endocrine related drugs approved to treat advanced prostate cancer include luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogs, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) antagonists, and antiandrogens.

Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogs

Most patients who receive hormonal therapy choose LHRH analogs. These drugs work by decreasing testosterone production to very low levels by depleting the pituitary gland of the hormone needed to produce testosterone. However, before this decrease in testosterone occurs, patients experience a brief and temporary increase in testosterone production and tumor growth. This is due to a transient increase in release of LHRH from the pituitary gland with a resulting stimulation of testosterone production. This phenomenon, called tumor flare, can cause increased symptoms from the prostate cancer that didn't exist before the patient received the therapy. Some doctors prescribe antiandrogens (described below) to combat the symptoms caused by tumor flare. LHRH analogs are administered via injection or small implants placed under the skin. The most commonly used LHRH analogs in the U.S. are leuprolide (Eligard, Lupron), degarelix (Firmagon), triptorelin (Trelstar), and goserelin (Zoladex). They cause side effects similar to those from the surgical orchiectomy. These drugs carry a risk of triggering diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and/or stroke. Before starting one of these drugs, patients should tell their doctor if they have a history of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cigarette smoking.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

man with doctor
Symptoms, risks, treatments
man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore
prostate cancer cells
What does this diagnosis mean?
doctor and male patient
Is it worth it?
cancer fighting foods
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
Prostate Enlarged
Picture Of The Prostate
Prostate Cancer Quiz
screening tests for men
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Vitamin D