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A possible chemotherapy for small cell carcinoma of the prostate?

Posted Nov 08 2010 12:00am

Small cell carcinoma of the prostate or SCCP is a rare, aggressive, and treatment-refractory form of prostate cancer. No good form of treatment is yet known for this disease, and median survival from initial diagnosis is less than 2 years. However, new data from a mouse model of SCCP has suggested that combining two well understood and widely available chemotherapeutic agents may have a significant clinical effect on patients with SCCP.

Tung et al. used a mouse model of SCCP to show that:

  • Irinotecan (at 20 mg/kg/day on days 1-3 and 8-10) completely arrested growth of human SCCP implants (xenografts) in their mice, with a small reduction in tumor volume and only minor weight loss (7 percent) of the mice.
  • Irinotecan (at 12 mg/kg, also on days 1-3 and 8-10) + cisplatinum (at 2.5 mg/kg/day on days 1 and 8) had a similar effect, but with less weight loss among the mice.

The authors conclude, cautiously, that, “irinotecan could be useful for therapy of refractory prostatic SCC, in particular in combination with cisplatin[um].” [Bold italic type added for emphasis.]

The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink regularly points out that data from animal models and subsequent clinical effectiveness in man are two very different things. However, given the complete lack of any clinically effective forms of treatment for SCCP, any form of good news offers potential hope for patients with such a diagnosis. We suspect that we may see a small trial of irinotecan with or without cisplatinum –  in treatment of men with SCCP in the not too distant future. As yet, however, there are no such trials posted on

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