NEW ORLEANSIn a phase II study, weekly docetaxel (Taxotere)
significantly reduced bone pain and PSA levels in men with
hormone-refractory prostate cancer, and these results led to enhanced
quality of life. Lead investigator Tomasz Beer, MD, of Oregon Health
Sciences University, reported the results at the 36th
Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
The 25 patients in the study received weekly infusions of docetaxel,
36 mg/m², for 6 weeks of an 8-week cycle. Oral dexamethasone 8
mg was given 12 hours and 1 hour before and 12 hours after the
Treatment was continued until there was evidence of disease
progression or unacceptable toxicity, or the patient requested to be
withdrawn from the study.
Of the 25 patients evaluable for pain, 44% achieved a palliative
response, Dr. Beer said. Palliative response was defined as either
significant pain relief without an increase in the use of pain
medication or a significant (50% or more) decrease in the need for
pain medication without any increase in pain.
Of the 23 patients evaluable for PSA response, 43% responded to the
treatment. A PSA response was defined as a PSA decline of 50% or more
that was sustained on two consecutive evaluations at least 4 weeks
apart. The results also showed a measurable increase in quality of
life in the PSA responders.
All 25 patients were evaluated for toxicity. Leukopenia and
neutropenia occurred in 16% of patients, Dr. Beer said. Other side
effects were moderate and uncommon, including anemia, diarrhea,
nausea, allergic reaction, skin ulceration, photosensitivity
dermatitis, bone pain, dyspnea, fluid accumulation around the lungs,
mouth sores, and neuropathy.
Our results suggest that weekly docetaxel not only represents
an effective and well-tolerated agent for relieving bone pain in
these patients but also reduces disease activity by means of a
decrease in PSA levels, Dr. Beer said.