Concept and viability of androgen annihilation for advanced prostate cancer


  • James L. Mohler MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Urology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York
    2. Department of Urology, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biotechnology, Buffalo, New York
    • Corresponding author: James L. Mohler, MD, Department of Urology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263; Fax: (716) 845-3300;

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There remains no standard of care for patients with a rising prostate-specific antigen level after radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy but who have no radiographic metastases, even though this is the second largest group of patients with prostate cancer (CaP) in the United States. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) may cure some men with advanced CaP based on single-institution series and a randomized clinical trial of immediate versus delayed ADT for men found to have pelvic lymph node metastasis at the time of radical prostatectomy. ADT may be more effective when initiated for minimal disease burden, which can be detected using PSA after radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy, and if more complete disruption of the androgen axis using newer agents decreases the chance that androgen-sensitive cells survive to adapt to a low-androgen environment. Androgens may be “annihilated” simultaneously using a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone antagonist or agonist to inhibit testicular production of testosterone, a P45017A1 (CYP17A1) inhibitor to diminish metabolism of testosterone via the adrenal pathway and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) via the backdoor pathway, a 5α-reductase (SRD5A) inhibitor to diminish testosterone reduction to DHT and backdoor metabolism of progesterone substrates to DHT, and a newer antiandrogen to compete better with DHT for the androgen receptor ligand-binding domain. Early initiation of androgen annihilation for induction as part of planned intermittent ADT should be safe, may reduce tumor burden below a threshold that allows eradication by the immune system, and may cure many men who have failed definitive local therapy. Cancer 2014;120:2628–2637. © 2014 American Cancer Society.