• clinical trials;
  • prostate cancer;
  • prostate cancer treatment

Despite more than 30 years of clinical trials, investigations in prostate cancer have not succeeded in making advances comparable to those in other branches of research, such as breast cancer. Indeed, prostate cancer trials have repeatedly run into a series of ‘dead ends’, as investigators face the problems of inadequate funding for research, treatments that result in only minimal improvements in survival, and lack of treatment options that have sufficient prospects for success. This article briefly reviews the strategies behind clinical investigations into prostate cancer over the last three decades, evaluates the pitfalls that have hindered research, and makes suggestions for the appropriate design of clinical trials that are safe and beneficial to patients while maintaining cost-effectiveness and accountability to patients and society.