Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a malignant tumour on the prostate gland which typically affects older men. Normally, prostate cancer grows slowly, but it can quickly lead to secondary tumours known as metastases in the bones and lymph glands. Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men. Roughly 60,000 men contract the disease in Germany every year. If it is detected at an early stage, however, patients have good chances of recovery.

The risk of contracting prostate cancer increases with age. Certain genetic factors are also thought to play a role. Men whose father or brother have or had prostate cancer are twice as likely to contract the disease themselves. There are several other risk factors in addition to age and genetic disposition, including:
- hormones (although it is not yet fully understood what role they play in causing cancer)
- smoking
- alcohol
- nutrition
- lifestyle


Many men who develop prostate cancer do not notice it at first. The disease often only becomes apparent once it reaches an advanced stage. Often only once the cancer has spread to neighbouring regions such as the coccyx, rectum or bladder. Symptoms then include:
- pain ejaculating
- decreased volume of ejaculation
- burning sensation when urinating and an urge to urinate frequently (often also a symptom of a urinary tract infection)
- blood in sperm (may also be caused by inflammation of the prostate gland)
- weak or interrupted flow of urine
- inability to empty bladder spontaneously (urinary retention)
- impotence
- hematuria (blood in urine, also a symptom of bladder cancer or urethral or kidney stones )
- problems with bowel movements

The following symptoms are typical for advanced prostate cancer which has metastasised:
- fatigue
- exhaustion
- bone pain, particularly in the spine
- general weakness
- decline in performance

Many of these symptoms can have any number of different causes, however. Back pain, for example, may be caused by wear and tear of the spine, or problems with urinating may be down to a benign enlargement of the prostate.


The DZI offers patients access to pioneering and innovative methods of treatment. Specialists from various disciplines within Universitätsklinikum Erlangen work together to find individual treatments tailored to the needs of each individual patient.

The choice of treatment in any individual case depends on several factors. The age of the patient and stage to which the disease has progressed are decisive. Other factors include any specific requests regarding treatment and existing comorbid conditions. Several different treatment options are available:

Curative care:
If the prostate cancer is not yet at an advanced stage, treatment is aimed at the patient making a complete recovery. In this case, treatment may involve surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy.

Palliative care:
If, however, the cancer has already spread too far throughout the body, the individual treatment is aimed at extending the patient’s lifespan and alleviating their complaints.

Immunotherapy has not had a major role to play in treating prostate cancer to date. In future, it may be possible to identify patients at an advanced stage of the disease who can benefit from treatment using checkpoint inhibitors. At the current time, however, other strategies take precedence. Recently, treatments aimed at inhibiting DNA repair mechanisms have started to be used alongside chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiation therapy. Molecular tests are being carried out at the DZI for this purpose. Several recent studies have contributed to significant advances being made in this area.

The Prostate Cancer Centre at the DZI is also looking into immunological approaches to treating patients with metastasised prostate cancer by participating in various vaccination studies.


Do you have any questions on the treatment of prostate cancer? Please feel free to get in touch with us by phone, e-mail or via our contact form.