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Why is triptorelin used for prostate cancer?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 30, 2023.

Official answer


Triptorelin may be used in advanced prostate cancer to lower levels of testosterone in men. Prostate cancer needs the hormone testosterone to grow. Almost all testosterone in men is made by the testicles. Triptorelin stops the testicles from making testosterone, reducing testosterone levels, and slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. This can help relieve symptoms such as painful or difficult urination.

How does triptorelin work?

Triptorelin mimics gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and is known as an agonist analog of GnRH. GnRH regulates the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). LH and FSH are known as gonadotropins because they stimulate the gonads (the testes in males and the ovaries in females) to release hormones. Triptorelin causes an initial, transient, surge in FSH, LH, and testosterone, which desensitizes the GnRH receptor through a negative feedback loop causing a sustained decrease in FSH and LH and a significant reduction in the production of testosterone 2 to 4 weeks after initiation.

Triptorelin belongs to the class of medications known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists. The Trelstar brand of triptorelin may be used to treat men with advanced prostate cancer.

Triptorelin causes serum testosterone concentrations to fall to levels typically observed in surgically castrated men.

  • Triptorelin Updated 01/2021. ASHP.
  • Triptorelin (Decapeptyl® or Gonapeptyl®) Macmillan Cancer Support.,cancer%20or%20stop%20it%20growing.

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