Hormone therapy in prostate cancer: LHRH antagonists versus LHRH analogues

Eur Urol. 2004 Sep;46(3):279-83; discussion 283-4. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2004.05.006.


GnRH agonists have a proven and well-established role in the management of prostate cancer. Further adaptations of the amino-acid sequence led to the development of antagonists with potential therapeutic uses, including a possible role in prostate cancer patients. Treatment of prostate cancer with GnRH agonists results in an initial flare of symptoms that may be prevented by co-administration of a steroidal or non-steroidal antiandrogen. However, this can be associated with additional adverse effects. Clinical studies have shown that GnRH antagonists produce a rapid decline in testosterone but without the disease flare. However these short-term effects have yet to be proven to lead to long-term survival benefits. There have been some reports that antagonists may be associated with adverse effects due to histamine release leading to severe allergic reactions. GnRH agonists are currently available in a range of depot formulations, allowing treatment to be tailored to the patient's needs. At present, the antagonists are only available as on-month depot formulations, which may limit their clinical use. Abarelix should be given intramuscularly. It is the first GnRH antagonist which is approved by the FDA for patients with advanced prostate cancer who should be treated under a risk management program. In Europe, abarelix has not been registered yet.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / agonists*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oligopeptides / therapeutic use
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Oligopeptides
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • cetrorelix
  • abarelix