Posted on March 8th, 2009 by
Intermittent administration of Taxotere® (docetaxel) appears to provide as much benefit, with fewer side effects, than continuous administration of Taxotere among patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer. These results were recently presented at the 23rd annual meeting of the European Association of Urology.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in men in the United States. One frequent approach to treatment of prostate cancer is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), also referred to as hormone therapy. Prostate cancer is stimulated to grow from exposure to the circulating male hormone testosterone. ADT reduces the production of testosterone in the male body, reducing its growth stimulatory effects on cancer cells.
Unfortunately, prostate cancer cells can become resistant to the effects of hormone therapy, a condition referred to as hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC) or androgen-independent prostate cancer (AIPC). Men with AIPC are often treated with chemotherapy, with Taxotere commonly used in chemotherapy treatment of these patients.
Chemotherapy is most often delivered on a continuously maintained schedule. For example, Taxotere is often delivered once per week or once every three weeks for a specified number of cycles. Because continuous delivery of chemotherapy is associated with side effects, researchers have been evaluating “chemotherapy holidays” or intermittent administration (IA), an approach that allows for a break in delivery of chemotherapy. The concept behind IA is to reduce side effects associated with continuous delivery in order to maintain a good quality of life while gaining the anticancer benefits of chemotherapy. There has also been some data that indicates a potential for IA to delay the development of resistance to chemotherapy (however, these findings require further testing).
Researchers from Turkey recently conducted a small clinical trial to compare continuous administration (CA) of Taxotere with IA of Taxotere in men with AIPC. This trial included 31 men who received CA Taxotere administered once every three weeks or IA Taxotere administered at measurable cancer progression or increase in pain from 2004 to 2006.
Anticancer responses measured by prostate-specific antigen levels, average survival, and survival at one year were all similar between the CA and IA groups.
The researchers concluded that intermittent administration of Taxotere appears to provide the same treatment benefits of continuous administration in men with AIPC. However, further studies comparing these two administration schedules are necessary.
Patients with AIPC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participation in a clinical trial evaluating novel therapeutic approaches such as IA. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov) and http://www.eCancerTrials.com.
Reference: Akdogen B, Ozen H, Kirdal Y. Is intermittent docetaxel chemotherapy reasonable in hormone-refractory prostate cancer? A prospective randomized study. Proceedings from the 23rd annual European Association of Urology meeting. March 2008. Milan, Italy. Abstract #643.
Related News: Hormone “Holidays” Effective for Treatment of Advanced Prostate Cancer (07/21/2006)
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