Small cell carcinoma of prostate: effectiveness of hormonal versus chemotherapy

Urology. 1992 May;39(5):411-6. doi: 10.1016/0090-4295(92)90235-o.


Small cell carcinoma of the prostate is rare and associated with a rapidly fatal course. Since 1977, 47 cases have been reported in the world literature with data from 3 additional cases presented herein. The purpose of our review was to determine the effectiveness of hormonal versus chemotherapy. Thirty-four of the 50 cases have known clinical histories. Four patients were not treated, and all were dead of their disease within an average of 2.75 months. Six patients were eliminated from our review because small cell carcinoma was discovered at autopsy. Another 5 cases were omitted because hormonal +/- chemotherapy had already been given for a previous diagnosis of adenocarcinoma, but no specific therapy was given once the small cell carcinoma developed. Of the remaining 19 cases, only 2 have survived. One is still alive forty-three months after hormonal treatment, and another is alive with disease six months after the initiation of hormonal therapy and chemotherapy. Five patients were given hormonal therapy only, and none of them responded. In 4 patients chemotherapy was given after hormonal therapy had failed, and they too died of their disease within a short period of time. However, an additional 8 patients were treated with immediate chemotherapy +/- hormonal therapy and had substantially longer clinical remissions. Therefore, although small cell carcinoma is a uniformly fatal disease, immediate chemotherapy should be considered to promote better clinical remissions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / therapy*
  • Chlorotrianisene / therapeutic use
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Diethylstilbestrol / therapeutic use
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Leuprolide / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatectomy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Etoposide
  • Chlorotrianisene
  • Diethylstilbestrol
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Leuprolide