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Oncology (Williston Park). 2005 Apr;19(5):631-6.

Recent progress in management of advanced prostate cancer.

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  • 1Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Androgen-deprivation therapy, usually with combined androgen blockade, is standard initial treatment for advanced prostate cancer. With failure of initial treatment, as indicated by rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, second-line hormonal therapy is usually instituted. Over the past several years, it has become increasingly clear that systemic chemotherapy has an important role in hormone-refractory disease. Phase II trials have demonstrated high PSA and measurable disease response rates with taxane single-agent and combination treatments. One recent phase III trial showed that docetaxel (Taxotere)/ estramustine (Emcyt) significantly improved overall survival, progression-free survival, and PSA response rate compared with mitoxantrone (Novantrone) plus prednisone. Another phase III trial demonstrated that docetaxel given every 3 weeks plus prednisone significantly improved overall survival, PSA response rate, pain relief response rate, and quality of life compared with mitoxantrone and prednisone. On the basis of these findings, every-3-week docetaxel plus prednisone is now considered standard first-line therapy for metastatic hormone-refractory disease. There is considerable optimism that treatment can be further improved. Studies of taxane combinations with bevacizumab (Avastin), thalidomide (Thalomid), bortezomib (Velcade), antisense Bcl-2 oligonucleotide, mTOR inhibitors, epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors, and KDR inhibitors are under way. Randomized phase III trials in progress or planned are examining docetaxel in combination with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) or calcitriol and docetaxel/prednisone in combination with bevacizumab and an antisense clusterin compound. Other promising systemic agents include epothilones and atrasentan, and promising vaccines include Provenge, GVAX, and Prostvac.

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