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What is castration-resistant prostate cancer?

Castration-resistant prostate cancer is a type of prostate cancer that usually develops during treatment for metastatic disease.

Hormonal therapy either stops the production or blocks the action of androgens. This is known as castration. When effective, hormonal therapy stops the growth of the tumour. This effect will not last and leads to castration-resistant prostate cancer. This generally happens 2-3 years after hormonal treatment started. Castration-resistant prostate cancer cannot be cured.

Castration-resistant prostate tumours need much lower levels of androgens to progress. This means that even when your body produces almost no androgens, the tumour and metastases continue to grow. These cancers are called castration-resistant, because they no longer respond to hormonal castration treatment.

In this type of cancer, the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood rises again. The doctor will diagnose castration-resistant prostate cancer if repeated tests show an increase in the PSA level in your blood. It can also be diagnosed if you experience symptoms caused by the growing tumour or metastases.

Treatment options for castration-resistant prostate cancer

If you have been diagnosed with castration-resistant prostate cancer, your doctor will recommend a care pathway to manage your symptoms and allow you to live longer. It is important to remember that castration-resistant prostate cancer cannot be cured.

Castration-resistant prostate cancer can be managed with:

Because castration-resistant prostate cancer still responds to androgens, your doctor will recommend to continue hormonal treatment to keep the levels of testosterone low.

This section describes the different treatment options which you should discuss with your doctor.

This is general information, which is not specified to your individual needs. Keep in mind that individual recommendations may depend on your country and health care system.