First Evidence That Chemotherapy Extends Life in Advanced Prostate Cancer

Key words

Prostate cancer, docetaxel (Taxotere®), chemotherapy . (Definitions of many terms related to cancer can be found in the MedTerms Dictionary.)

Summary

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, two large phase III studies have shown. These are the first clinical trials to show that chemotherapy can improve survival in advanced prostate cancer.

Source

American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, New Orleans, June 7, 2004. Final results subsequently published in the October 7, 2004, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (links to the journal abstracts, below).

Background

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.