Prostate cancer consists of epithelial and stromal elements that are heterogeneous with regard to androgen dependence. Nearly 80% of patients with symptomatic metastatic prostate cancer obtain prompt objective and subjective response to androgen deprivation. Surgical castration remains an effective form of therapy, has low morbidity, and obviates compliance problems with medical regimens. New LH-RH analogs offer complete medical androgen deprivation, appear as effective as estrogen therapy at 2-year follow-up, and have significantly lower cardiovascular side effects. Thus, LH-RH analogs may replace estrogen therapy for the medical management of metastatic prostate cancer. Androgen deprivation therapy has not been proved to prolong the survival of patients with prostate cancer. The optimal timing for initiation of endocrine therapy in these patients remains controversial. Techniques for predicting androgen dependence of prostate cancer are still evolving and are not yet applicable on a widespread clinical basis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas