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(Drug information on vinblastine) alone vs vinblastine combined with estramustine(Drug information on estramustine) (Emcyt).
"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 deadly disease."
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.