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Paclitaxel-Estramustine Improves Survival

Paclitaxel-Estramustine Improves Survival

SAN FRANCISCO—Patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer
benefited from a regimen combining paclitaxel (Taxol) and estramustine (Emcyt,
Estracyt) in two phase II trials discussed at the 37th Annual Meeting of the
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

William R. Berry, MD, of US Oncology, Cary, North Carolina, reported that
combining the two drugs raised the response rate to 48% from 28% for a control
group of patients who received paclitaxel alone.

The combination regimen also improved time to progression and survival
rates, though the findings were not statistically significant, said Dr. Berry,
who is also chairman of the genitourinary cancer research committee for
Houston-based US Oncology.

"I think the combination of weekly Taxol and estramustine is a very
tolerable regimen and more effective than weekly Taxol alone," he told
ONI. "I personally don’t plan to use weekly Taxol without
estramustine."

Palliative Effects a Surprise

Gary R. Hudes, MD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center, reported that the combination’s
palliative effects surprised researchers who conducted a separate study that
included quality of life evaluations. The regimen was well tolerated and
reduced pain, he said. Opiate use went down for 65.7% of patients, with those
reporting the highest pain at baseline also reporting the greatest decrease.

This Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) trial was conducted in the
hope that it would show that the combination does not detract from quality of
life, Dr. Hudes said. "That was our goal, but we found it improved quality
of life. That was an important finding," he told ONI.

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