He added, "The only thing that doesn't make it a home run is you are not curing anybody, but you are prolonging their life and their quality of life with a treatment that has very little toxicity."
However, the availability and cost of Provenge are issues that need to be resolved, D'Amico said. "It's very expensive and there is going to be a huge demand for it."
A four-week treatment with Provenge would cost as much as $93,000, according to an editorial accompanying the study.
Moreover, new guidelines are expected to recommend the use of Provenge before using the new chemotherapy drug Taxotere (docetaxel), D'Amico said. "Taxotere, although less expensive, has a lot more toxicity and has about the same benefits [as Provenge]," he said.
Commenting on the high cost of Provenge, Kantoff countered that "this is a treatment given over a four-week period, as opposed to other treatments that are given over many months, where the costs can be high as well, if not comparable to or more expensive [than Provenge]."
For more information on prostate cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Philip Kantoff, M.D., professor, medicine, Harvard Medical School, medical oncologist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; Elizabeth Kavaler, M.D., urologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Anthony D'Amico, M.D., Ph.D., chief, radiation oncology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; July 29, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine
All rights reserved