How immunotherapy may be a promising treatment for metastatic prostate cancer

Worldwide, prostate cancer affects 1.3 million men and causes over 360,000 deaths each year. It is the second most prevalent cancer globally, with an estimated 1 in 7 men experiencing it at some point.

When prostate cancer stays localized in the prostate gland in its initial stages, the chances of survival are almost 100% over the next five years. Treatment choices for early-stage prostate cancer include active surveillance, surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy, based on different factors.

Men with metastatic prostate cancer have a five-year survival rate of less than 30%. This type of cancer is complicated to treat since it has spread beyond the prostate gland, which secretes seminal fluid to support sperm. Metastatic prostate cancer often can go beyond the confines of the prostate gland and spread to lymph nodes and bones, making it advanced and high-risk.

Researchers are constantly seeking more effective treatments for advanced prostate cancer to improve and extend the lives of men with the disease. This is due to the significant difference in survivability rates between early-stage, localized prostate cancer, and metastatic prostate cancer.

Men with prostate cancer can experience long-term cancer remission through cancer immunotherapy, a promising development.

Current immunotherapy prostate cancer treatment options 

There is a new and hopeful treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer and other cancer types known as immunotherapy. This treatment utilizes the patient’s immune system to combat cancer cells, making it a practical option for prostate cancer treatment.

Cancer immunotherapy offers different options, such as targeted antibodies, cancer vaccines, adoptive cell transfer, tumor-infecting viruses, cytokines, and adjuvants. This type of treatment can be combined with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or other targeted therapies to enhance their efficacy in managing prostate cancer.

There are three ways using immunotherapy for prostate cancer appears promising:

  1. Immunotherapy is precise – Immunotherapy makes it possible to target cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
  2. Immunotherapy is adaptable – Our immune system can continuously adapt so that if a cancerous tumor is sneaky by hiding, the immune system can re-evaluate and start a new attack.
  3. Immunotherapy has a memory – Our immune system can memorize and identify cancer cells enabling it to specifically target and kill cancer cells that return. 

Currently, there are three FDA-approved immunotherapy options for fighting prostate cancer which include the following:

There are two medical treatments available for men with advanced prostate cancer. The first is a cancer vaccine called Sipuleucel-T, which uses a patient’s immune cells to target the prostatic acid phosphatase protein found in prostate cancers. This vaccine is approved for men with few or no symptoms of castration-resistant prostate cancer. The second treatment is an immunomodulator called Dostarlimab (Jemperli), which targets the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway. This treatment is authorized for men with advanced prostate cancer that has spread or cannot be treated through surgery and have a DNA mismatch repair deficiency.

Immunomodulator Pembrolizumb (Keytruda) – This immunotherapy targets the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway and is approved for men with advanced prostate cancer with a high microsatellite instability, DNA mismatch repair deficiency, or high tumor mutational burden. It boosts the immune system’s ability to detect and kill tumor cells. 

In addition to the three FDA-approved immunotherapy treatments for prostate cancer, various other immunotherapy options are currently being tested in clinical trials for men with advanced prostate cancer.

Men and their families need to know that immunotherapy for prostate cancer does not always work for every patient. Certain types of immunotherapy have resulted in potentially severe side effects. However, most side effects of immunotherapy men may experience are manageable.

As we look ahead, there is hope for better treatment of metastatic prostate cancer through immunotherapy. This method can be more precise, personalized, and effective than cancer treatments, ultimately saving more lives. Furthermore, researchers are striving to minimize the negative side effects of treatment and find more efficient and life-extending ways to manage prostate cancer.


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 



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