Complications of chemotherapy for prostate cancer

T. M. Beer, J. S. Bubalo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


To date, all available therapies for prostate cancer are plagued by adverse effects. Chemotherapy is no exception. The mechanisms of activity of chemotherapy agents are not cancer-specific. Normal tissues, particularly those that require rapid cell proliferation, are vulnerable to the effects of growth inhibition by these cytotoxic agents. Furthermore, both predictable as well as idiosyncratic toxicities unrelated to the antineoplastic activity of these agents can occur. In some cases, the cause of adverse events may be linked to the vehicle required to suspend water-insoluble chemotherapy drugs. Patient-specific factors can also significantly contribute to the risk of chemotherapy side-effects. However, with optimal clinical care the toxicity of antineoplastic agents can be substantially reduced. Long before chemotherapy is contemplated, it is imperative to limit treatments that reduce patients' capacity to tolerate subsequent chemotherapy. Moreover, offering treatment before patients' performance status declines can significantly improve tolerance of treatment. Once chemotherapy is initiated, the incidence and severity of adverse effects can be reduced through individualized selection of chemotherapy regimens and appropriate use of adjunct medications. Finally, aggressive management of toxicities after they occur lessens their duration and severity. The common toxicities of current chemotherapy regimens for prostate cancer, as well as strategies to limit and manage these toxicities are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Urologic Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse effects
  • Chemotherapy
  • Complications
  • Prostate cancer
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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