Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 1999; 23(4):333-342.

Prospects of Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Prostate Carcinoma - A Review

Gilda G. Hillman, Ph.D.,a,b Jeffrey A. Triest, M.D.,b Michael L. Cher, M.D.,b Sosa V. Kocheril, M.D.,b and Bharat R. Talati, M.Sc.b

Departments of a Radiation Oncology and b Urology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Harper Hospital, Detroit, Michigan

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: G. 0. Hillman, Ph.D., Department of Radiation Oncology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Rm. 150 Lande Bldg., 550 E. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201.

ABSTRACT. The treatment of prostate carcinoma is dependent on the stage of the disease. Patients who present with clinically localized cancer or locally advanced tumors can be potentially cured by radical prostatectomy, radiation, and hormonal therapy. However, disease progression can occur in 30-50% of patients diagnosed with clinically localized cancer. The bone is the predominant site of metastases. Metastatic prostate cancer is first treated by androgen blockade but within a few months becomes hormone refractory. Hormone refractory metastatic prostate cancer is not responsive to conventional treatments, and patients have an expected survival of less than a year. It is essential to develop new approaches for the treatment of hormone refractory metastatic disease. Immunotherapy, based on enhancement of the host immune response against the tumor, has been used as an alternative therapy for the treatment of metastatic cancers refractory to conventional therapy in particular for melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. In this review, we will summarize various immunotherapeutic approaches developed over the last 18 years, and we will address the potential of immunotherapy for the treatment of metastatic prostate carcinoma by reviewing preclinical studies and initial clinical trials performed in this field.

KEY WORDS: immunotherapy, prostate cancer.