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New Drugs, Approaches Offer Hope Against Prostate Cancer
Date:3/3/2010

Experimental medicine shows promise, new test might cut unnecessary biopsies, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists are making headway in finding ways to treat and detect stubborn forms of prostate cancer.

The new hope comes from three studies being presented this week at the annual Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco.

"Genitourinary cancers include cancers of the prostate, kidney, bladder and testicles," Dr. Nicholas J. Vogelzang, chairman and medical director of the developmental therapeutics committee at U.S. Oncology, explained at a Wednesday teleconference announcing the various findings. "The most common of these is prostate cancer, which is diagnosed in 192,000 men and claims 27,000 lives each year."

The first study, led by Dr. Oliver Sartor of Tulane Cancer Center, New Orleans, found that a new investigational drug called cabazitaxel improved overall survival in men whose prostate cancer had progressed despite being treated with hormone therapy and docetaxel-containing chemotherapy.

Men receiving cabazitaxel plus mitoxantrone (a chemotherapy drug) lived 15.1 months compared to 12.7 months for patients who received mitoxantrone plus prednisone. This represents a 30 percent increase in survival, which may not seem long but is seen as significant for men with a poor prognosis.

"Advances in cancer therapy have always been incremental. We have only a few examples of massive improvements with one drug," Vogelzang noted. "Three months is a major clinical advance."

Other studies are looking at whether giving the drug earlier in the course of the cancer would improve survival even more.

"Until today, experimental agents have never been shown to have a survival advantage in this group of patients," said Sartor, who is Piltz Professor for Cancer Research at Tulane. "This potentially represents a new therapy option for these patients who a
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