Posted: July 7, 2020

For decades men with prostate cancer undergoing hormone deprivation therapy either the time of diagnosis or for first treatment for metastatic disease have had to undergo repeated injections of a castration  inducing medicine called leuprolide.  Aside from the actual injection the big objection was that this drug causes a transient increase in testosterone levels — the exact opposite of what you want to see, necessitating the use of a second drug, an anti-androgen.  Published in abstract form as part of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (held virtually in June, 2020) is an important paper from Duke and affiliated hospitals.  Click here for the link.   The full published article will likely come out in the next year or two.  The authors used a new drug — Relugolix — a pill that does the same thing as leuprolide without producing the testosterone spike.  Reductions in serum testosterone occurred faster and were deeper than those produced by leuprolide — without requiring frequent doctor visits for injections.  This drug is likely to get expedited approval by the FDA and should be available soon therafter.  While these men still have a serious health problem, the therapy they receive will no longer be so burdensome.  Stay tuned for further news on this.