Skip to main content

Is Zytiga a form of chemotherapy?

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on May 16, 2023.

Official answer


Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) is a type of hormone therapy that is used along with prednisone to treat men with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized). Despite being used to treat cancer, Zytiga is not a form of chemotherapy.

Zytiga is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat:

  • Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC)
  • Metastatic high-risk castration-sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC)

How does Zytiga work?

Zytiga is an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor. Androgens are a group of hormones, which includes testosterone, that stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow.

Zytiga works by inhibiting the CYP17 (17 α-hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase) enzyme found in testicular, adrenal and prostate tumor tissue. The CYP17 enzyme is necessary for the production of androgens - a process called androgen biosynthesis. Blocking CYP17 significantly reduces the production of the androgens which stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow.


Related medical questions

Drug information

Related support groups