Resetting the Bar of Castration Resistance – Understanding Androgen Dynamics in Therapy Resistance and Treatment Choice in Prostate Cancer

Neal D. Shore, Alicia K. Morgans, Charles J. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This review discusses impact of advancements in biologic understanding of prostate cancer (PCa) on definition and diagnosis of castration-resistant PCa (CRPC), predictive factors for progression to CRPC and treatment strategies. More sensitive assays confirm that bilateral orchiectomy reduces serum testosterone (T) closer to < 20 ng/dL than < 50 ng/dL, and evidence suggests that achieving T < 20 ng/dL improves outcomes and delays CRPC emergence. Regular T assessments will evaluate whether T is adequately suppressed in the setting of potential progression to CRPC, given that late dosing may result in T escape. More advanced imaging modalities and biomarker assays allow earlier detection of disease progression. Predictive factors for progression to CRPC include Gleason grade, extent of metastatic spread, germline hereditary factors such as gene mutations affecting androgen receptor amplification or DNA repair deficiency mutations, prostate-specific antigen kinetics, and biomarker analyses. Treatment options for CRPC have expanded beyond androgen deprivation therapy to include therapies that suppress T or inhibit its activity through varying mechanisms. Future directions include therapies with novel biological targets, drug combinations and personalized treatments. Advanced PCa management aims to delay progression to CRPC and prolong survival. With redefinition of castration and advancements in understanding of the biology of disease progression, diagnosis and treatment strategies should be re-evaluated. Definition of CRPC could be updated to reflect the T < 20 ng/dL requirement as this is a ‘true’ castrate level and may improve outcomes. It is important that androgen deprivation therapy as foundational therapy is continued even as new CRPC therapies are introduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-207
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Genitourinary Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Medical writing and editing support were provided by consultants at Xelay Acumen Group, Inc, funded by Tolmar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Androgen deprivation therapy
  • Castration-resistant
  • Prostate-specific antigen
  • Testosterone
  • Treatment adherence

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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