Systemic Therapy for Prostate Cancer

The medical oncologists at Fox Chase Cancer Center are regional and national leaders in the treatment of prostate cancer. As part of the multidisciplinary team, your medical oncologist will help to determine your personalized treatment plan, which may include systemic therapies such as targeted therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy, either as standard of care or as part of a clinical trial.

Systemic therapy may be given before or after surgery to patients with invasive or locally advanced prostate cancer. It may also be recommended to patients who are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic cancer).

Most prostate cancers are hormone-sensitive, meaning they depend on the hormone testosterone to grow. About one-third of prostate cancer patients will require hormone therapy for prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate or recurred after treatment. Hormone therapies provide relief from pain and other symptoms and may delay the symptoms and the spread of cancer. For most patients, the side effects of hormone therapy are more tolerable than the symptoms of advancing cancer.

Although hormone therapy can control the cancer for a variable period of time, most tumors eventually become resistant and begin to grow again. For patients with hormone resistant or "hormone-refractory" tumors, chemotherapy provides another treatment option. Chemotherapy for prostate cancer has been shown to prolong patients' lives, reduce pain from bone metastases when cancer spreads, and enhance overall quality of life.

Bone-directed Therapy

If prostate cancer spreads, it often affects the bones. Bisphosphonates are a family of drugs that can slow the growth of cancer in bones and may reduce pain. They may also be used to prevent bone thinning and weakening associated with long-term hormonal therapy.

Clinical Trials

Fox Chase actively participates in a number of clinical trials for patients with prostate cancer. In addition to receiving excellent care, our patients also benefit from the groundbreaking research that we do to expand our understanding of new prostate cancer therapies and treatments. We encourage eligible patients to participate in clinical trials that are available and appropriate for their stage and type of prostate cancer.