According to results recently presented at the 2006 annual Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium, Provenge® plus Taxotere® (docetaxel) improves outcomes compared to Taxotere alone in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer.
The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. It produces some of the fluid that transports sperm during ejaculation. After skin cancer prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in men.
Current treatment options for prostate cancer include watchful waiting, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy. Hormonal therapy is designed to block testosterone from stimulating the growth of hormone-dependent types of prostate cancer.
Some prostate cancers become resistant to hormonal therapy and then require a different treatment approach; this condition is known as hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC). Since hormone refractory prostate cancer can be difficult to treat, new approaches-such as cancer immunotherapy-are being explored.
Provenge is an immunotherapy that stimulates the immune system to help fight cancer cells. Provenge has been designed to trigger the immune system to recognize a protein referred to as the prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), which is found in approximately 95% of all prostate cancer cells. When the immune system identifies PAP, it targets the prostate cancer cells and mounts an attack against them. Provenge has demonstrated an improvement in survival in the treatment of men with HRPC whose cancer has spread to distant sites in the body. Researchers continue to evaluate Provenge in different treatment combinations.
Researchers recently conducted a clinical trial to further evaluate Provenge in the treatment of HRPC. This trial included 82 patients who were initially treated with either Provenge or placebo (inactive substitute). They were then treated with Taxotere.
• Median survival was 34.5 months for patients treated with both Provenge and Taxotere compared with 25.4 months for those treated with placebo/Taxotere.
• 68% of patients who initially received placebo ultimately switched to treatment with Provenge/Taxotere. Among these patients, median survival was 25.7 months compared with 20.2 months for patients who continued treatment with placebo/Taxotere.
The researchers concluded that these results provide more evidence that Provenge is effective in the treatment of HRPC.
Patients with HRPC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participation in a clinical trial further evaluating Provenge or other novel therapeutic approaches. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) and eCancerTrials.com.
1.Petrylak D, et al. Defining the optimal role of immunotherapy and chemotherapy: Advanced prostate cancer patients who receive sipuleucel-T (PROVENGE) followed by docetaxel derive greatest survival benefit. 14th Annual Meeting of the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium. New York, New York. November 8-11, 2006.
2.Small EJ, Schellhammer PF, Higano CS, et al. Placebo-controlled phase III trial of immunologic therapy with sipuleucel-T (APC8015) in patients with metastatic asymptomatic hormone refractory prostate cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2006;24:3089-3094.
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