This treatment has several goals. When used against advanced prostate cancer, it can help shrink and slow the growth of tumors. In the early stages of prostate cancer, hormone therapy can serve as a preliminary treatment to radiation. Valuable in shrinking tumors, hormone therapy increases the likelihood of successful radiation treatments. It's also used after surgery or radiation therapy to slow the growth of any remaining cancer cells.
Side effects of hormone therapy may include erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, loss of muscle and bone mass, reduced sex drive, and weight gain. Hormone therapy used over the long term may also lead to cardiovascular problems, heart disease and heart attacks.
This treatment relies on hormones to prevent your body from producing testosterone, which is used by cancer cells for growth. When testosterone production is inhibited, cancer cells die, or find it more difficult to grow.
- Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) agonists
Hormones in this class stop the testicles from making testosterone by cutting off the body's messages that promote production. Drugs used in this treatment include leuprolide (Lupron, Eligard,), goserelin (Zoladex), triptorelin (Trelstar), histrelin (Vantas) and LH-RH (Antagonist) which binds the gonadotropin releasing hormone receptors in the pituitary gland inducing a fast, profound reduction in thhe LH and FSH=> testosterone suppression. Drugs in the antagonist group are cetrorelix (Cetrotide), ganirelix (Antagon) and abarelix (Plenaxis).
These medications block testosterone from arriving at cancer cells. They include bicalutamide (Casodex), flutamide, and nilutamide (Nilandron). Anti-andogens are often administered in combination with LH-RH agonists, either before or afterward.
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