Male hormones, specifically testosterone, fuel the growth of prostate cancer. By reducing the amount of testosterone in a man’s body, the growth and spread of prostate cancer can be slowed. Hormone therapy, also known as androgen ablation or androgen-deprivation therapy, is an effective treatment in the treatment of advanced or metastatic prostate cancer. Although hormone therapy plays an important role in men with advancing prostate cancer, it is also used before, during, or after local treatment, such as to improve outcomes for men undergoing radiation therapy.
Patients who no longer respond to hormone therapy have other treatment options, including chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells, by circulating the drugs in the bloodstream. These drugs kill any cancerous prostate cancer cells. Many chemotherapy drugs are given to patients directly into a vein through a tube, while other chemotherapy drugs are taken by mouth. At one time, chemotherapy was used only to relieve symptoms associated with symptomatic metastatic disease. However, today, it is known that certain chemotherapy drugs can prolong the lives of men with prostate cancer that no longer respond to hormone therapy.
Immunologic agents are used to stimulate a patient’s own immune system to respond against the cancer. For patients with advanced prostate cancer, Provenge is an immunotherapy treatment that uses the power of the patient’s own immune system to identify and target prostate cancer cells. Each dose is manufactured specifically for each patient. The process of making Provenge involves collecting a patient's immune cells in a procedure called leukapheresis, and growing them in the laboratory in the presence of a protein that stimulates the immune cells to recognize prostate-cancer. This process activates the patient's immune cells to help the immune system better fight the disease. Studies have shown that in patients with metastatic prostate cancer, Provenge has allowed men to live longer with minimal side effects. Provenge is available for patients being treated at UCLA Urology as part of our standard of care regimen.
Learn more about Immunotherapy / Provenge Vaccine for Prostate Cancer at UCLA >
For more information about prostate cancer treatment in Los Angeles and to make an appointment with a UCLA prostate cancer specialist, call (310) 794-7700.