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The use of chemotherapy following a radical prostatectomy delays the time to cancer progression among men with prostate cancer who are at a high risk of developing a recurrence.  These results were recently presented at the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA).

Over 200,000 men each year in the United States are diagnosed with prostate cancer. This equates to approximately one in seven men. Among African American men, and those with a family history of prostate cancer, the odds of being diagnosed with the disease increase.

Among men with early prostate cancer, several treatment options are available, depending upon the characteristics of the cancer, the overall health and age of the patient, and side effects of treatment.

Researchers continue to compare different treatment options for early prostate cancer to reduce the risk of a recurrence, while maintaining quality of life.

Researchers affiliated with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently conducted a study to evaluate the effects of chemotherapy following a radical prostatectomy among men with early prostate cancer. They also conducted a subgroup analysis in an attempt to determine if a specific group of patients derived more benefit over others.

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The trial included nearly 300 patients with early prostate cancer that had characteristics associated with a high risk of a cancer recurrence. One group of patients received standard of care observation following their prostatectomy, and the other group received chemotherapy consisting of Taxotere® (docetaxel) and the steroid prednisone for 18 weeks following the surgery. Men were followed between 1-5 years.

  • As a whole, the addition of chemotherapy following a prostatectomy did not provide any benefit compared to a prostatectomy only.
  • However, among African American men, progression of cancer for 1 to 5 years following therapy was reduced by 46% with the addition of chemotherapy following a radical prostatectomy, compared to those who were treated with a radical prostatectomy only.
  • Among men whose pathology indicated that cancer had spread to their seminal vesicles or tissues next to the prostate (T3b or T4), this risk of cancer progression was reduced by 42% with the addition of chemotherapy.

Dr. Chang, AUA spokesperson and a moderator at the scientific meeting stated that “What this study shows is that men with aggressive disease, thus at higher risk for prostate cancer relapse, may benefit the most from chemotherapy after radical prostatectomy. As urologists, we are always looking for new treatment options for our patients following localized therapy. Despite our best efforts, our established treatments for localized prostate cancer fail 30 percent of the time. Knowing to whom we should offer adjuvant chemotherapy is a real step forward in our attempts to improve our therapy success.”

Men with early prostate cancer who are at a high risk of developing a cancer recurrence should discuss the risks and benefits of all treatment options with their physician.

Reference: Proceedings from the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). Study suggests chemotherapy after radical prostatectomy may benefit men who are at high risk for relapse**.** AUA Press Release: news. Available at: . Accessed May 11, 2016. Publication number:  PI LBA 06. Presented May 7, 2016.

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