Chemotherapy is usually used for patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, i.e. when the tumor continues to progress during hormone therapy despite suppressed androgens (male sex hormones). This involves the administration of drugs known as cytostatics (cytotoxins), which inhibit the growth of cancer cells and thus delay the progression of the disease.
Today, chemotherapy can usually be administered on an outpatient basis with mild side effects. The patient receives an infusion of the cytostatic drug lasting about one hour every three weeks. To avoid or mitigate side effects, concomitant medications are prescribed in advance. As a rule, chemotherapy is administered over four to six cycles. This is followed by monitoring of the disease by means of PSA levels, ultrasound and, if necessary, MRI/CT and bone scintigraphy.
Combination hormone treatment and chemotherapy
Recent studies show that in some cases it is useful to start chemotherapy early and combine it with hormone treatment. The combination is used primarily in younger men with very aggressive and fast-growing tumors. It can keep the disease in check, prolong life and alleviate disease-related symptoms.
Chemotherapy with docetaxel (Taxotere®) is still considered the standard treatment for patients with castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer. Docetaxel interferes with cell division and thus inhibits the growth of cancer cells. However, if the disease continues to progress under the cytostatic drug, these patients have access to another cytostatic drug, cabazitaxel (Jevtana®).
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