The treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer
Posted Sep 17 2008 1:59pm
Note: The information provided below is basic information only. The content
of this section will be upgraded in the near future to offer a more
detailed commentary on the treatment of hormone-refractory prostate
So-called hormone-refractory prostate cancer or HRPC (also known
as androgen-independent prostate cancer or AIPC) is prostate cancer
that is no longer responding to hormonal therapy.
Until very recently there were no good therapeutic options for men
with this stage of prostate cancer. Indeed, all that was available to
treat these men were forms of therapy used to try to manage the severe
pain associated with their bone and soft tissue metastases (palliative
therapy). This all changed in 2004.
That year, two large clinical trials provided results that radically
changed the management of hormone-refractory disease (and indeed the
potential for treatment of all forms of advanced prostate cancer).
These two studies were known as TAX 327 and SWOG 99-16. They were the first two major studies ever to show a clinically significant survival benefit for any form of
chemotherapy in the treatment of any stage of prostate cancer.
de Wit has recently reviewed the role of chemotherapy in the treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer.
Since the publication of the results of these two clinical trials,
standard therapy for the management of HRPC has become the combination
of docetaxel (Taxotere) and prednisone given daily for 3 weeks for 8
cycles of therapy. However, literally dozens of other trials are now
seeking to improve on the average survival benefit offered by this
combination (which is only a matter of 2 months compared to prednisone
We can now expect to see significant changes in the way all forms of
advanced prostate cancer are treated over the next few years, as
various docetaxel-based regimens are tried in the treatment of every
nonlocalized stage of the disease, and as additional chemotherapy-based
regimens are used in the treatment of HRPC.
It is also worth noting that there are the very earliest suggestions
that (just as in the case of homrone therapy) intermittent
Taxotere-based chemotherapy may also be a real possibility (see the
blog post Chemotherapy for HRPC: intermittent docetaxel ).
Content on this page last reviewed and updated April 5, 2008.