Systemic Treatment of Prostate Cancer in Elderly Patients: Current Role and Safety Considerations of Androgen-Targeting Strategies

  • Myrto Boukovala
  • Nicholas Spetsieris
  • Eleni EfstathiouEmail author
Review Article


Prostate cancer commonly affects older men, with one out of five patients being diagnosed at 75 years or older. Elderly patients are more likely to have reduced performance and nutritional status, increased comorbidities, polypharmacy, and altered host-dependent pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Moreover, elderly patients are often underrepresented in clinical trials, mainly because of comorbidities and decline in performance status. The International Society of Geriatric Oncology recommends management of elderly patients according to fitness and personal preference, rather than chronological age. Since androgen signaling has a nodal role in prostate cancer progression, androgen-targeting agents remain the mainstay of systemic therapy for this disease. However, the potential benefit of these treatments may be compromised by toxicity, especially in elderly patients. Hence, management decisions require evidence-based consideration of both potential benefits and risks on an individualized basis. Furthermore, especially elderly patients should undergo geriatric screening and must be actively monitored during treatment to detect adverse events early and prevent complications. A personalized and vigilant approach could provide the elderly patient with the optimal benefits of existing and emerging prostate cancer treatments, while sparing them the risks of excessive toxicity and avoiding overtreatment.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No external funding was used in the preparation of this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

MB and NS declare that they have no conflicts of interest that might be relevant to the contents of this manuscript. EE has received research grants from Janssen, Sanofi and Astellas, honoraria from Sanofi, Bayer, Astellas, Tolmar, and Janssen, and payment for lectures from Janssen.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myrto Boukovala
    • 1
  • Nicholas Spetsieris
    • 1
  • Eleni Efstathiou
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Genitourinary Medical OncologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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