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Hormonal therapy with abiraterone acetate

The body needs an enzyme called CYP17 (17α-hydroxylase) to produce testosterone. CYP17 is found in the testicles, adrenal glands, and prostate cancer cells. The new hormonal agent abiraterone acetate blocks CYP17 so that no testosterone is produced.

Treatment with abiraterone acetate aims to slow the growth of the tumour and metastases. It may allow you to live longer and with fewer symptoms.

The most common side effects of abiraterone acetate include fatigue, lower levels of potassium in the blood, high blood pressure, swelling or discomfort of the joints, and swelling caused by fluid retention.

While taking abiraterone acetate you may become tired and feel out of breath because of lower levels of red blood cells. Other changes to the blood may cause a fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat, increased thirst and loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, or fast weight gain.

Abiraterone acetate is taken twice a day as a tablet, and always used in combination with the steroid drug prednisone. Discuss with your doctor if abiraterone acetate is an option for you.

Hormonal therapy with enzalutamide

Prostate tumours need androgen receptors to grow. Enzalutamide is a new hormonal agent that blocks androgen receptors. It aims to lower the level of PSA in the blood and slow down the growth of the tumour. Unlike abiraterone acetate, you do not need to take additional steroids while taking enzalutamide.

The most common side effects of enzalutamide are a feeling of weakness, back pain, and fatigue.