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Immunotherapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer

If hormone therapy stops working, your doctor may suggest immunotherapy. This type of treatment uses your own immune system to attack the cancer cells.

Provenge (sipuleucel-T) is the vaccine used to treat advanced prostate cancer. To make it, the doctor removes white blood cells from your blood. These go to a lab, where they are genetically engineered to fight prostate cancer. These energized cancer-killing cells are then returned to you by intravenous (IV) injection in three separate treatments.

Radiation Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer

In radiation therapy for advanced prostate cancer, focused high-energy rays kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. You may receive targeted radiation therapy to reduce the size of your tumors and provide relief from symptoms.

One drug, Xofigo, is approved for use in men who have advanced prostate cancer that has spread only to the bones. Candidates should have also received therapy designed to lower testosterone. Xofigo, given by injection once a month, works by binding to minerals within bones to deliver radiation directly to bone tumors. A study of 809 men showed that those taking Xofigo lived an average of 3 months longer than those taking a placebo.     

Chemotherapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer

If other treatments stop working and your cancer progresses, your doctor may next suggest chemotherapy. When to start chemo will depend upon many things. This includes:

  • Which types of treatment you have already received
  • Whether radiation is needed first
  • How well you may tolerate chemo
  • Which other options are available to you

There are many types of chemotherapy agents that you receive into your veins or as a pill. They travel by bloodstream throughout the body to destroy cancer cells.

Taxotere (docetaxel) is commonly combined with prednisone for patients with hormone-resistant prostate cancer that has spread.

The FDA has also approved Jevtana (cabazitaxel) for advanced prostate cancer.

Other Options for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Newer types of hormone therapy may prove to be even more effective than those commonly used. These include:

  • Zytiga (abiraterone acetate)
  • Xtandi (enzalutamide)

Currently, doctors mainly use these when other types of treatment stop working.

Your doctor may also suggest other types of hormone therapy. Estrogens are one example, although they are used less often now due to side effects.

Ketoconazole (Nizoral), an antifungal agent, may work by limiting production of testosterone.