Abiraterone acetate is a type of hormone therapy for men with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (advanced prostate cancer). It is usually only offered to men whose cancer has stopped responding to other types of hormone therapy – you may hear this called second-line therapy. But some men might be offered abiraterone as a first treatment for advanced prostate cancer.
Abiraterone works by stopping the body producing a hormone called testosterone. It does this in a different way to other types of hormone therapy. In most men, prostate cancer cells can’t grow without testosterone, even if they have spread to other parts of the body.
Abiraterone won’t cure your prostate cancer, but it can help keep it under control and has been shown to help some men live longer. It can also help to treat or delay symptoms, such as pain and tiredness. Abiraterone may be suitable if you have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Your hospital doctor may offer you abiraterone if you can’t have chemotherapy, or you don’t want to have it yet. Or you may be offered abiraterone if you’ve had a chemotherapy drug called docetaxel and your cancer has stopped responding to it.
If you’ve already had a type of hormone therapy called enzalutamide, abiraterone probably won’t be an option. This is because research suggests that men who have already had one of these drugs don’t respond so well to the other drug. However, if you get severe side effects from enzalutamide, you may be able to try abiraterone.