Articles

Hormone Therapy: Improving Therapy Decisions and Monitoring

By: Alexandre R. Zlottaa lowast , Per-Anders Abrahamssonb, Bertrand Tombalc, Richard Bergesd and Frans Debruynee

European Urology, Volume 5 Issue 1, April 2006, Pages 369-376

Published online: 01 April 2006

Keywords: EAU guidelines, LHRH agonists, Monitoring, Prostate cancer, Prostate specific antigen, Testosterone, Treatment decision

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Abstract

Objectives

Due to the increased diagnosis of prostate cancer at earlier stages and the overall increased use of hormone therapy, also in earlier disease stages, many patients will receive long-term hormone therapy. Therefore, the timing of initiating hormone therapy and the type of hormone therapy have become crucial items in the appropriate management of patients with prostate cancer. In addition, as patients receiving long-term hormone therapy are at an increased risk of acute and chronic side effects, the monitoring of these patients deserves attention. The timing and type of hormone therapy and the monitoring of patients receiving hormone therapy are reviewed in this paper.

Methods

A literature review was performed in Medline.

Results

The prostate specific antigen doubling time (PSA DT) has been evaluated to determine the risk of disease progression in patients having a relapse after radical therapy. Patients with a PSA DT of <12 mo have a high risk for disease progression and should probably receive hormone therapy rapidly. In case of a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer, there is not yet a consensus on when to start hormone therapy. During an interactive voting session, over 200 urologists indicated that the preferred luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist should be able to achieve a castrate level of ≤20ng/dl, as well as to maintain these low testosterone levels without inducing acute-on-chronic or breakthrough responses. Eligard®, a novel depot formulation of leuprolide acetate, appears to be the only LHRH agonist currently available able to achieve and maintain serum testosterone levels below the castrate level of 20ng/dl.

Patients receiving long-term hormone therapy should be adequately monitored during follow-up visits. Besides frequent assessment of the PSA level and other recommended assessments, serum testosterone levels should also be determined. In this way, response to therapy can be evaluated, relevant testosterone rises after initial treatment response can be detected, and potential reasons for unexpected PSA rises can be verified, which will improve the monitoring of patients receiving hormone therapy.

Conclusions

Measuring testosterone levels before and during therapy initiation might improve hormone therapy decisions and monitoring. Eligard® is an interesting LHRH agonist because it is able to achieve and maintain testosterone levels below 20ng/dl.

Keywords: EAU guidelines, LHRH agonists, Monitoring, Prostate cancer, Prostate specific antigen, Testosterone, Treatment decision.

Footnotes

a University Clinics of Brussels, Erasme Hospital, Brussels, Belgium

b Malmö University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden

c Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, UCL, Brussels, Belgium

d PAN-Klinik am Neumarkt, Cologne, Germany

e Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

lowast Corresponding author. University Clinics of Brussels, Erasme Hospital, Department of Urology, Route de Lennik 808, 1070 Brussels, Belgium. Tel. +32 2 555 36 14; Fax: +32 2 555 36 99.

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