Purpose of review: The survival of hormone-refractory metastatic prostate cancer patients has improved with the use of docetaxel-based chemotherapy. The survival benefits, however, are modest suggesting that rationally designed therapeutic approaches are needed. We discuss recent developments in the therapeutic approach to advanced metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer, including molecularly targeted therapy, signal transduction inhibitors, stem-cell targeted therapy, anti-angiogenic compounds, vaccines and immunomodulating agents, differentiation agents, cytotoxics, and pro-apoptotic agents.
Recent findings: Over 200 compounds have entered clinical development for use in advanced prostate cancer, alone or in combination with cytotoxic agents such as docetaxel, or in other combinations. This article will review the results of emerging targets since the approval of docetaxel in 2004, concentrating on some of those compounds that, in our opinion, have the greatest potential and rationale for use.
Summary: The growing field of targeted molecular therapy of prostate cancer has opened up numerous opportunities for therapeutic impact. Knowledge of the molecular determinants of progression, relapse after local therapy, chemotherapeutic resistance, and hormone refractoriness remains essential in the rational design of clinical trials of these agents. Given the complexity, heterogeneity, and crosstalk of molecular pathways and the molecular lesions in prostate cancer, combination or sequential therapy may be a necessary step towards significant therapeutic progress. Novel translational clinical trial methodologies may assist in a more rapid identification of active compounds at biologically active doses for phase-III testing.