The results of a phase III multicenter trial presented
at the 38th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology showed
for the first time that chemotherapy can improve the survival of patients with
advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer. For the study, researchers compared
the effects of vinblastine alone vs vinblastine combined with estramustine
"This is the first study to show that chemotherapy can improve survival
for this group of patients," said Gary Hudes, MD, lead investigator for the
study and a medical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
"While this is only a modest survival increase, it demonstrates the
potential for improved chemotherapy combinations that are currently being
tested. We believe that new studies using estramustine in combination with other
similar drugs will greatly increase the length of survival for men with this
Other benefits of the combination therapy included a reduction in the pain
caused by the disease. "Also, we were surprised to find that the side
effects were reduced when these drugs were used in combination vs vinblastine
alone," said Dr. Hudes.