Stopping Hormone Therapy May Shorten Men's Lives
Prostate Cancer Patients on Continuous Hormone Therapy Lived Longer Than Patients Given Intermittent Treatment, Study Finds
Continuous ADT Beats Out Intermittent ADT
The late-stage international study involved men with hormone-sensitive cancers that had spread beyond the prostate. All were given androgen deprivation therapy with Zoladex and Casodex for seven months. Men who responded were divided into two groups, with one staying on continuous ADT and the other getting intermittent treatment. They were tracked for an average of more than nine years.
Results showed that "survival with intermittent hormone therapy was inferior to survival with continuous hormone therapy," Hussain says.
Men given continuous therapy lived an average of nearly six years, compared with about five years for men getting intermittent therapy.
Men with minimal disease spread (no cancer beyond the spine, pelvis, and lymph nodes) on continuous therapy lived an average of about seven years vs. five years for those treated intermittently -- a striking two-year difference, Hussain says.
Among men with more extensive disease spread, the gap in survival narrowed: about four-and-a-half years for continuous therapy vs. five years for intermittent treatment.
But Hussain says that even these men should not be offered treatment breaks, as further study is needed.
Overall, the men who got the stop-and-start treatment received about half the amount of hormone therapy as men who got continual ADT, says researcher David I. Quinn, MBBS, PhD, of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
As a result, intermittent therapy costs about half as much as continuous therapy, which he estimated at $340 to $440 a month for the two drugs used in the study. Both drugs are covered by insurance, Quinn says.
These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary, as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.