As opposed to hormonal therapy which is primarily cytostatic (prevents
cancer cells from growing), cytotoxic therapy is designed to kill
the cancer cells. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are examples
of cytotoxic treatments.
Heretofore, the treatment of advanced stage, metastatic disease
centered around palliation because there was no recognized therapy
that provided any survival benefit to the patient. Prior to recent
developments, the only approved treatment for advanced prostate
cancer was the combination of mitoxantrone (Novantrone) and prednisone,
which didn't improve survival but provided significant relief from
the pain associated with advanced stage disease.
Additionally there are several research studies in work utilizing
the new standard with various agents; however, it is important to
understand the imperatives associated with advanced stage therapeutic
approaches. An interview with Dr. David Agus should help to achieve
the perspective necessary for informed choice.