March 16, 2009 -- Question: What is intermittent androgen suppression therapy?
Answer: Intermittent androgen suppression is achieved by using the drugs that work at the pituitary level, and are given on an intermittent rather than a continuous basis. The theory behind this started some 10 or 15 years ago and the idea is that if we allow the cancer cells to recover somewhat it might be just as effective when you block their stimulus for growth intermittently as continuously, but the side effects of intermittent treatment should be and really are less, so that the men can recover some of their muscle strength, and some of the other functions that testosterone provides when they're off treatment. It's also likely to be less expensive and many feel that this should be a standard of care outside of studies. There is one remaining very large national trial that we urge people to participate in because there might be subtle differences between intermittent and continuous therapy that we might not yet have uncovered.