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BJU Int. 2014 Mar;113(3):367-75. doi: 10.1111/bju.12110. Epub 2013 Apr 12.

Role of immunotherapy in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).

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  • 1Genitourinary, Sarcoma, and Central Nervous System Tumor Program, Medical Oncology Department, Universitat Autònoma Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


Initial therapy for metastatic prostate cancer consists of androgenic suppression. However, this is only a palliative treatment with an effective duration that usually lasts 12-24 months. Historically, castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) had been considered a chemoresistant tumour. In 2004, docetaxel received USA Food and Drug Administration approval as a first-line treatment for metastatic prostate cancer, after two independent phase III trials showed an increased survival benefit. Recently, five new drugs have shown increased survival in CRPC: sipuleucel-T (assymptomatic or minimally symptomatic), abiraterone acetate (before and after docetaxel), cabazitaxel (after docetaxel), MDV3100 (after docetaxel) and radium-223 (not suitable for docetaxel or after docetaxel). The identification of antigens in normal prostate tissue or prostate cancer that are recognised by immune effectors cells has resulted in several new studies based on immunotherapy. Prostate cancer disease provides a test system to determine the efficacy of vaccines for different reasons. This cancer is a tumour that grows relatively slowly. Recurrence is often diagnosed early (with many patients presenting only with biochemical progression), there is a biological marker that can predict prognosis and outcome (PSA doubling time), various specific antigens have been identified and characterised, and vaccines can be used with a good safety profile combined with anti-androgen therapy, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. Here we provide a review of the main important immune treatments in CRPC.

© 2013 BJU International.


immunotherapy; ipilimumab; metastatic prostate cancer; prostate; sipuleucel; vaccines

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