New Combination Therapy Extends Life of Prostate Cancer Patients

by Vishnuprasad on  May 23, 2015 at 6:36 PM Health In Focus
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Docetaxel is a chemotherapy medication used to treat advanced prostate cancer. It is normally recommended as a last resort after the hormone treatment has failed.
New Combination Therapy Extends Life of Prostate Cancer Patients
New Combination Therapy Extends Life of Prostate Cancer Patients

A new study has shown that treatment at the earlier stage of prostate cancer with docetaxel is more effective than expected and can extend life expectancy.

The study suggests that the combination treatment of docetaxel chemotherapy and standard hormone therapy should be offered to men with advanced prostate - that spreads outside the prostate gland. It may spread to nearby tissues, bones, or other parts of the body.

The results form part of the STAMPEDE trial (Systemic Therapy in Advancing or Metastatic Prostate Cancer: Evaluation of Drug Efficacy), of as many as 2,962 men with advanced prostate cancer. The study was funded by Cancer Research UK and trails are being run across Britain and Switzerland.

Results from the initial trail show that for patients whose cancer had already spread beyond the pelvis, the combination treatment increased the life expectancy by 22 months.

Also, participants at the initial stage of the advanced cancer lived an average of 10 months longer than those who received only hormone treatment.

The study will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology once the trails are over.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer research UK's Chief Clinician said the study is game changing. "All men who are well enough and who have prostate cancer which has spread, should be offered this combination of treatments," he said

Professor Nicholas James, Director of the Cancer Research Unit at the University of Warwick, said that the findings should immediately be considered by medical professionals.

"More than 22 months of additional life from changing a conventional treatment method is a very big benefit. We are very pleased by it. We hope our findings will encourage doctors to offer docetaxel to men newly diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer, if they are healthy enough for chemotherapy," James said.

Dr Iain Frame, Director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, also urges to bring the method into the clinic practice without further delay.

"If it is shown to have a much greater impact on survival when prescribed earlier and alongside hormone therapy, that's incredibly exciting, and we would want to see this brought in to the clinic so it can benefit men without delay," Dr Frame said.

Statistics and Current Treatment Method

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. It is also the sixth leading cause of cancer-related death. Globally, there are around 1,100,000 new prostate cancer cases and 300,000 related mortalities every year. This comprises 4% of all cancer deaths. It is also estimated that one in every six men will be diagnosed with the disease during his lifetime.

Early stage of prostate cancer is treated with radiation and surgery. If the cancer has spread, they are usually given hormone therapy to reduce levels of male hormones, called androgens, in the body.

Hormone therapy treatment is effective at the beginning. Unfortunately the cancer may gradually become resistant to this type of treatment. Subsequently, chemotherapy, like doxcetaxol, is currently given only as a last resort.

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