There is great news for those of us who are on a hormone blockade. The latest reported from the 2007 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology says that Intermittent Androgen Suppression (IAS) is just as effective as continuous therapy. The study cited was a randomized multi-center trial with men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

The study showed that IAS is safe. The men on IAS experienced a 40% “off time” while also experiencing an increase in a positive quality of life.

The study compared intermittent with continuous therapy with a subject pool of 335 patients with advanced prostate cancer. Two thirds of patients had disease progression during the study period. The median time to disease progression in the IAS group was 16.5 months compared to 11.5 months in the continuous arm, which was not statistically significant.

The median time to death from any cause was 52.4 months in the IAS group and 53.8 months in the continuous arm, which is clearly not statistically significant. Patients’ self-assessment, sexual activity and overall health were better in the IAS group.

Reference: Miller K, Steiner U, Lingnau A, et al. Randomized prospective study of intermittent versus continuous androgen suppression in advanced prostate cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2007; 25:Abstract # 5015.

When I went intermittent, I experienced a significant increase in my quality of life. I suffered from neuropathy, which has abated, my hot flashes have declined in intensity and I now experience flashes only two to three times a day as opposed to fifteen times a day! My mind is much clearer, I no longer get lost in the New York Subway system. I am now more interested and have been able to re-establish a sexual relationship with my wife.

Clearly, if you are on continuous hormone suppression therapy you should open a dialogue with your doctors and discuss going on an intermittent schedule.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW