Impact of androgen-deprivation therapy on the immune system: implications for combination therapy of prostate cancer

Front Biosci. 2007 Sep 1;12:4957-71. doi: 10.2741/2441.


Prostate cancer is the most common non-cutaneous malignancy in American men. Standard therapeutic strategies for systemic disease include androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) and chemotherapy, both of which are palliative. However, there is a growing interest in the use of immunotherapy for prostate cancer. Evidence suggests that ADT may 1) enhance lymphopoiesis and thus potentially improve immune responses to vaccine, 2) renew thymopoiesis and thus reverse age-induced thymic involution, 3) augment B-cell development, and 4) mitigate tolerance to prostate cancer antigens. Although no vaccines are currently approved for prostate cancer, there are many promising agents under investigation. This review focuses on recent findings on immune regulation by androgens and immune-system regeneration with ADT, with emphasis on the rationale for the combination of ADT and vaccines in the clinical treatment of prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / immunology
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy*
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Receptors, Androgen