Prostate Cancer Chemotherapy and Survival
Is there a relationship between prostate cancer chemotherapy and survival of cancer patients? For men with advanced cases that are no longer responsive to hormone therapy, a chemotherapy regimen that includes the drug docetaxel extended the average survival rate by two to three months in two large phase-III studies. These are the first clinical trials to show a positive link between prostate cancer chemotherapy and survival rates.
According to two large phase-III studies, chemotherapy regimens that include the drug docetaxel extend median survival by two to three months in patients with advanced prostate cancer that is no longer responsive to hormone therapy. These are the first clinical trials to show that chemotherapy can improve survival in advanced prostate cancer. Results were published in the October 7, 2004, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Therapies that lower the body's level of the male sex hormone testosterone, which encourages prostate cancer growth, are the mainstay of treatment for prostate cancer that has spread to other organs. However, many patients stop responding to hormonal therapies after two to three years of treatment. No effective therapy currently exists for advanced prostate cancer that stops responding to hormonal therapy.
Chemotherapy with the drugs prednisone and mitoxantrone has been shown to reduce pain in men with advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bones, but this regimen does not help patients to live any longer. Several previous studies of different chemotherapy regimens had failed to identify a drug or combination of drugs that extended patients' survival.