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Cancer. 2004 Nov 15;101(10):2202-8.

Quality of life impact of three different doses of suramin in patients with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate carcinoma: results of Intergroup O159/Cancer and Leukemia Group B 9480.

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  • 1Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire 03756, USA.



Research has suggested that men with hormone-refractory prostate carcinoma have a lower quality of life (QOL) compared with men who have hormone-sensitive prostate carcinoma and that quality of life (QOL) steadily declines over the last year of life for men with prostate carcinoma. The primary purpose of the current study was to evaluate whether there was evidence of palliative effects associated with suramin at any of the three doses administered in the original clinical trial.


Patients with histologically confirmed advanced hormone-refractory adenocarcinoma of the prostate were randomized to receive suramin at a low dose (n = 129; median age, 69 years), an intermediate dose (n = 129; median age, 71 years), or a high dose (n = 127; median age, 70 years) as part of the Intergroup 0159/Cancer and Leukemia Group B 9480 trial. Patients completed a battery of assessment tools, including the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT)-Prostate, the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), the Brief Pain Inventory, and an opioid medication log, at baseline, on Day 1 of the sixth week of active therapy, during the second week after treatment termination, and 3 months after administration of the final suramin dose.


Patients who received low-dose suramin reported improvement in QOL (FACT-General: P < 0.01; FACT-Treatment Outcome Index: P < 0.01) and decreased levels of depression (CES-D: P < 0.0006) during treatment compared with patients in the intermediate- and high-dose arms. After treatment, all groups experienced equal decreases in FACT and CES-D scores.


The pattern of results suggests that the lowest dose of suramin administered had a palliative effect in terms of improvement in QOL and decreased levels of depression and that this effect was lost once suramin was discontinued.

(c) 2004 American Cancer Society

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