Bench-to-bedside development of agonists and antagonists of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone for treatment of advanced prostate cancer

Ferenc G. Rick, Andrew V. Schally

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) has been the standard of care for treating patients with hormone-sensitive advanced prostate cancer (PCa) for 3 decades. The agonists of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH), also called gonadotropin-releasing hormone, are still the most frequently used form of medical ADT. ADT and LHRH analogs: The application of agonists of LHRH has improved and modernized the treatment of advanced PCa; millions of patients have benefited from therapy with LHRH agonists as a preferred alternative to surgical castration, as the psychological effects and perpetuity of orchiectomy are undesirable for most men. Despite their efficacy, agonists of LHRH have several shortcomings, including initial surge in testosterone, producing exacerbation of clinical symptoms, and microsurges in testosterone that might occur after each administration. A new, alternate approach to ADT is emerging with the improvements in antagonists of LHRH. This class of LHRH analogues produces a direct and immediate blockade of pituitary LHRH receptors and leads to a more rapid suppression of testosterone without an initial surge or subsequent microsurges. Degarelix, a third-generation LHRH antagonist, is the only antagonist with a low histamine-releasing activity that is currently on the market for clinical use in advanced PCa with improved testosterone suppression, better control of follicle-stimulating hormone and prostate-specific antigen, and which offers a prolonged delay to progression and more favorable effects on serum alkaline phosphatase. Conclusions: Although LHRH agonists are still the mainstay for treatment of advanced PCa, antagonists of LHRH offer an alternative as a pharmacological approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-274
Number of pages5
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Advanced prostate cancer
  • GnRH
  • Hormonal therapy
  • LHRH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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