NEW YORK--Pharmaceutical companies are currently investigating 25 new treatments for prostate cancer, including a potential vaccine, Alan Holmer, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said at a media briefing conducted by the American Cancer Society and the New York City-based Cancer Research Institute.
Along with new agents in the pipeline for prostate cancer are new applications and different formulations of older drugs, said medical oncologist Gene Resnick, MD, vice president for clinical research, Schering-Plough Research Institute.
A new use of existing agents is the combination of flutamide(Drug information on flutamide) (Eulexin) and a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist (LHRH-A) in early-stage prostate cancer. In another approach, flu-tamide plus finasteride(Drug information on finasteride) (Proscar) is being studied for use in advanced or recurrent prostate cancer.
Established chemotherapeutic agents are also being studied in new applications and combinations; for example, mitoxantrone(Drug information on mitoxantrone) (Novantrone) in combination with prednisone(Drug information on prednisone) for palliation of advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer (see also page 4); fluorouracil(Drug information on fluorouracil) with cisplatin (Platinol) in refractory metastatic disease; and flutamide with epiru-bicin in advanced prostate cancer.
A new liposomal form of doxorubicin(Drug information on doxorubicin) is in development, and other liposomal products are in the works, he said, as are potentially more effective hormonal agents, including new LHRH antagonists and agonists, new antiandrogens, and other investigational drugs such as liarozole and the synthetic retinoid fenretinide.
Dr. Resnick is particularly excited by efforts to develop biological response modifiers and gene therapy techniques for use in prostate and other cancers. For example, a signal transduction inhibitor being developed at the National Cancer Institute changes the calcium flow in each cell and may have some application in prostate cancer.