Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer
Chemotherapy for Prostate Cancer continued...
Docetaxel, when used with or without prednisone, was the first chemotherapy drug proven to help patients live longer with advanced prostate cancer. The average survival was improved by about 2.5 months when compared to mitoxantrone with or without prednisone. Docetaxel has the best results when given every three weeks as compared to weekly dosing.
Cabazitaxel (Jevtana) is another chemotherapy drug, used in combination with the steroid prednisone, to treat men with prostate cancer. Cabazitaxel (Jevtana) is used in men with advanced prostate cancer that has progressed during, or after, treatment with docetaxel (Taxotere).
The safety of cabazitaxel (Jevtana) and its effectiveness were established in a single, 755-patient study. All study participants had previously received docetaxel (Taxotere). The study was designed to measure overall survival (the length of time before death) in men who received cabazitaxel (Jevtana) in combination with prednisone as compared to those who received the chemotherapy drug mitoxantrone in combination with prednisone. The median overall survival for patients receiving the cabazitaxel (Jevtana) was 15.1 months compared with 12.7 months for those who received the mitoxantrone regimen.
Side effects in those treated with cabazitaxel (Jevtana) included significant decrease in infection-fighting white blood cells (neutropenia), anemia, low level of platelets in the blood (thrombocytopenia), diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, constipation, weakness, and renal failure.
Provenge for Advanced Prostate Cancer
Provenge (sipuleucel-T) is a "vaccine" for advanced prostate cancer that helps prolong survival.
Provenge isn't your everyday vaccine. It's an immune therapy created by harvesting immune cells from a patient, genetically engineering them to fight prostate cancer, and then infusing them back into the patient.
It's approved only for treatment of patients with few or no prostate cancer symptoms whose cancer has spread outside the prostate gland and is no longer responding to hormone therapy.
Once a cancer grows beyond a certain point, the immune system has a hard time fighting it. One reason is that cancer cells look a lot to the immune system like normal cells. Another reason is that tumors may give off signals that manipulate the immune system into leaving them alone.