Combination hormonal therapy: a reassessment within advanced prostate cancer.
Combination hormonal therapy, comprising a luteinising hormone-releasing hormone analogue (LHRHa) with an antiandrogen, is widely used in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. There is ongoing debate regarding the use of combination hormonal therapy as opposed to LHRHa monotherapy. The pivotal consideration is whether there are adequate benefits with combination hormonal therapy in terms of increased survival and decreased disease progression to outweigh the increased risk of adverse events and additional cost. The most recent meta-analysis by the Prostate Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group indicates a small but statistically significant survival benefit with combination hormonal therapy using nonsteroidal antiandrogens. It is, however, noteworthy that combined conclusions derived from such meta-analyses may not apply across each of the individual antiandrogens. Individual studies have reported differences between antiandrogens in terms of both tolerability and efficacy-for example, bicalutamide has been shown to be better tolerated than flutamide, and may be associated with improved survival. In addition, it is essential that treatment decisions are taken in consultation with the patient. Owing to an increasing proportion of cases presenting with early-stage disease, combination hormonal therapy is increasingly used in the neoadjuvant or adjuvant setting with radiotherapy and, in cases of prostate-specific antigen recurrence after prior localised therapy. Further data are awaited to optimise the use of combination hormonal therapy in these new settings.
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