Hormone therapy for breast and prostate cancer
- Hormone therapy for breast and prostate cancer inhibits the growth and multiplication of cancerous cells. Tumors with a high level of estrogen receptors (ER+)* and/or progesterone receptors (PR+) have a better prognosis than tumors lacking estrogen receptors (ER-) and/or lacking progesterone receptors (PR-).
- Hormone therapy for Prostate cancer normally includes medications or stop your body from producing testosterone
Hormone receptor status for estrogen and progesterone: Tumor cells can present receptors to estrogen and receptors to progesterone on their surface or inside the cell. Cells of some tumors present a high level of receptors. This means that their growth and multiplication are stimulated by hormones. Tumors with a high level of estrogen receptors (ER+)* and/or progesterone receptors (PR+) have a better prognosis than tumors lacking estrogen receptors (ER-) and/or lacking progesterone receptors (PR-).
Hormone therapy: This therapy consists of one or possibly a combination of two of the following treatments:
∙ A drug called tamoxifen which counteracts the action of estrogens on the breast and is active in both premenopausal and in postmenopausal patients
∙ A drug from the aromatase inhibitor family like anastrozole, exemestane or letrozole which inhibit the production of estrogens in post-menopausal women
∙ A drug from the gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs family that lower the level of estrogens in pre-menopausal women
∙ Ovariectomy – the removal of the ovaries in premenopausal women The choice of hormone therapy is based on the menopausal status of the patient.
Hormonal Therapy for Prostate Cancer
Hormone therapy normally includes medications or stop your body from producing testosterone such as luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist. Drugs which are used in these setting include leuprolide (Lupron, Eligard), goserelin (Zoladex), triptorelin (Trelstar) and histrelin (Vantas). Other drugs sometimes used include ketoconazole and abiraterone (Zytiga).
All other hormonal strategies that are commonly used are medications that block testosterone from reaching cancer cells, such as the anti-androgens. Examples include bicalutamide (Casodex), nilutamide (Nilandron) and flutamide. The drug enzalutamide (Xtandi) may be an option when other hormone therapies are no longer effective.
Orchiectomy or the surgical removal of the testicles is another alternative to reduce the level of testosterone in your body.
The information in this document does not replace a medical consultation. It is for personal guidance use only. We recommend that patients ask their doctors about what tests or types of treatments are needed for their type and stage of the disease.
- American Cancer Society
- The National Cancer Institute
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network
- American Academy of Gastroenterology
- National Institute of Health
- MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center