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Hormone Therapy, Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer

UC San Diego Health medical oncologists offer the latest hormone therapies, chemotherapies and immunotherapies for men with prostate cancer

Hormone therapy, also known as androgen deprivation therapy, is a first-line treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer, usually used combination with surgery or radiation therapy, or both. It works by:

  • Travelling throughout the body to fight cancer, wherever the cancer may be. This is important for men whose cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland.
  • Reducing the amount, or blocking the activity of, male hormones (androgens) in the body. Male hormones fuel the growth of many types of prostate cancer cells.

Types of Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT)

Our medical oncologists are experts at selecting an anti-androgen therapy that is most likely to be effective against your particular cancer. The most common hormonal agents currently recommended to counteract the cancer-promoting effects of androgens include:

  • Luteinizing hormone-releasing (LHRH) agonists and antagonists, which block the production or activity of androgens
  • CYP17 inhibitors, which inhibit an enzyme involved in the synthesis of androgens
  • Androgen receptor (AR) inhibitors, which prevent androgen receptors from binding with androgens

Chemotherapy for Hormone-Refractory Prostate Cancer

If your cancer becomes resistant to hormonal agents, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy including:

  • Docetaxel, with the steroid prednisone
  • Cabazitaxel, if the docetaxel is ineffective
  • Radium-223 dichloride, a radiopharmaceutical for cancer that has spread to the bone


Immunotherapy harnesses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. Depending on your health status and response to treatment, you may be a candidate for an immunotherapy approach, including:

  • Sipuleucel-T, a cellular immunotherapy, often called a cancer vaccine therapy.

Other highly personalized genetic and molecular approaches may be available at our Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy.

New Prostate Cancer Treatments

Through participation in a clinical trial, you may be able to receive a new, investigational cancer treatment. Talk to your doctor to see if you are eligible.