Chemotherapy Extends Life in Prostate Cancer (cont.)

As in Study 1, more patients in the groups treated with docetaxel experienced a drop in their PSA levels compared to the prednisone and mitoxantrone group, said principal investigator Mario Eisenberger, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

On the basis of this study's findings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved docetaxel, in combination with prednisone, to treat advanced prostate cancer that is no longer responding to hormonal therapy. The SWOG trial (Study 1) provided additional data to support the approval.


During the discussion at the ASCO presentation, Bruce J. Roth, M.D., of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center cautioned that the results "don't support the routine use of chemotherapy in less advanced prostate cancer."


Whether earlier use of chemotherapy can prolong survival in patients at a less-advanced stage of their disease is something that is being investigated in several phase III clinical trials currently enrolling participants.

As a result of these findings, however, "docetaxel is definitely a new standard of care" for patients with advanced prostate cancer that is resistant to hormone therapy, said Petrylak.

"These results are a reason for celebration as well as for optimism for the future," added Eisenberger. They put to rest concerns that advanced prostate cancer would not respond to chemotherapy, he said. In an extremely severe disease such as advanced prostate cancer, he added, a treatment must be very effective to achieve a two- to three-month increase in median survival.

Source: National Institutes of Health, (

Last Editorial Review: 11/12/2004