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Health Information Center

Chemotherapy for Prostate Cancer

  • Michael Jubinville, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Chemotherapy for Prostate Cancer

Chemotherapy (chemo) uses drugs to destroy prostate cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body.

Chemo may be used:

  • When prostate cancer is found outside of the prostate
  • When other treatment methods fail

Chemotherapy Drugs and Delivery

Chemo for prostate cancer are usually often given one at a time. The most common drugs are:

  • Docetaxel
  • Cabazitaxel
  • Mitoxantrone
  • Estramustine

Docetaxel is most often given first. If this drug does not work (or stops working), cabazitaxel is often next. Other treatments may be tried. Chemo is unlikely to cure prostate cancer. It may:

  • Slow the cancer’s growth
  • Reduce symptoms
  • Lead to better quality of life

Chemo is given in cycles. Each treatment cycle is followed by a rest period. This gives the body time to recover. Each cycle lasts for a few weeks.


  • Chemotherapy for prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/treating/chemotherapy.html.
  • Prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/prostate-cancer.
  • Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/patient/prostate-treatment-pdq#_142.
  • What is chemotherapy? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/prostate-cancer#Chemotherapy.


  • Nicole S. Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.