Early Chemotherapy Improves Survival for Men with Prostate Cancer

“Two papers from UCL show that having early chemotherapy improves survival for men with prostate cancer. The papers, published in the Lancet and Lancet Oncology, report the results from the STAMPEDE clinical trial and a meta-analysis.

“Both papers looked at the use of a chemotherapy drug called docetaxel. Docetaxel is already used for men with prostate cancer once hormone therapy has stopped working. In STAMPEDE and the meta-analysis, the researchers looked at using it earlier, when men are starting long-term hormone therapy. Both studies found that adding docetaxel improved survival for these men.

“The studies also looked at whether the drug zoledronic acid improves survival. Zoledronic acid is used to reduce the risk of bone problems in men whose cancer has spread to their bones, and whose hormone therapy has stopped working. The new studies looked at using it earlier, when men are starting long-term hormone therapy. Both studies found that adding zoledronic acid did not improve survival for these men.”


Radiotherapy May Help in Node-Positive Prostate Cancer

“Adding prostate and pelvic radiotherapy (RT) to hormone therapy appears to cut relapse rates in men newly diagnosed with high-risk nonmetastatic (M0) node-positive prostate cancer, according to an exploratory analysis by European investigators.

“In a November 25 online paper in JAMA Oncology, Dr. Nicholas D. James of the University of Warwick, Coventry, UK, and colleagues note that they came to this conclusion using data collected between 2005 and 2014 in 721 patients allocated to the control arm (standard-of-care only) of the STAMPEDE Trial.

“Dr. James told Reuters Health by email that these data ‘form part of a pair of publications detailing outcomes in the control arm of STAMPEDE and help to make sense of the forthcoming paper on the randomized comparisons currently in press at The Lancet.’ “


Two-Drug Combination Boosts Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

“Newly diagnosed patients with metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer gained a dramatic survival benefit when started on two drugs simultaneously, rather than delaying the second drug until the cancer began to worsen, according to results of a clinical trial led by a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientist.

“Patients who underwent six cycles of treatment with the chemotherapy drug docetaxel along with a hormone blocker survived for a median of 57.6 months, more than a year longer than the median 44-month survival for men who received only the hormone-blocker, according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine. The immediate combination also prolonged the period before the cancer began to worsen – a median of 20.2 months versus 11.7 months with the single agent.

“The multi-center, phase III trial, involving 790 patients, ‘is the first to identify a strategy that prolongs survival in men newly diagnosed with metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer,’ said Christopher J. Sweeney, MBBS, of Dana-Farber’s Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology. He said the results of the multi-center phase III trial should change the way doctors have routinely treated such patients since the 1940s.”


Docetaxel Improves Survival for Men with Hormone-Naive Prostate Cancer

“The addition of docetaxel to standard therapy clinically and significantly improved survival for men with locally advanced or metastatic hormone-naive prostate cancer, according to findings from the STAMPEDE trial.

“However, the addition of zoledronic acid to standard therapy was not associated with improved survival, results showed.

“ ‘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,’ Nicholas David James, MD, PhD, director of the cancer research unit at the University of Warwick and consultant in clinical oncology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the United Kingdom, said in a press release. ‘Men with locally advanced, nonmetastatic prostate cancer may also consider docetaxel as part of upfront therapy, as it clearly delays relapse.

“ ‘It’s also clear that zoledronic acid does not benefit these patients and should not be offered as an upfront treatment for advanced prostate cancer,’ James said.”