Treatment options in hormone-refractory metastatic prostate carcinoma

Alberto Fusi, Giuseppe Procopio, Silvia Della Torre, Riccardo Ricotta, Gianpaolo Bianchini, Roberto Salvioni, Leonardo Ferrari, Antonia Martinetti, Giordano Savelli, Sergio Villa, Emilio Bajetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prostate cancer represents one of the most important health problems in industrialized countries. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Therapeutic options are different according to the stage of the disease at the diagnosis. Patients with localized disease may be treated with surgery or radiation, whereas the treatment for patients with a metastatic disease is purely palliative. Hormonal treatment represents the standard therapy for stage IV prostate cancer, but patients ultimately become unresponsive to androgen ablation and are classified as hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients. The molecular mechanisms involved in progression in hormone resistance are characterized by mutations, down and up-regulation in the androgen receptor gene, mutations in p53 and over-expression of Bcl2 and other alterations in genes and in gene expression. The important thing is that we understand these mechanisms to define potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients. Conventional options for patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer include secondary hormone therapy, radiotherapy and cytotoxic chemotherapy. The commonest antineoplastic agents are mitoxantrone, estramustine and taxanes. Despite an improvement in the palliative benefit, none of these agents has demonstrated a beneficial impact on the overall survival of patients. Therefore, there is no standard therapy for these patients, thus we need new approaches which should be studied in clinical trials. The evaluation and incorporation of new agents into current treatment regimens could have a role in the treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer, but their efficacy has not yet been demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-546
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone-refractory
  • Metastatic prostate carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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