National Cancer Institute Releases Early, Prostate-Cancer Study Findings

Two-drug combo extends survival in advanced, prostate cancer patients.

Men with advanced prostate cancer survived longer on a combination of two types of drugs than the standard, single treatment approach, reports a federally sponsored study. The standard practice has been to first treat men with hormone therapy to suppress testosterone and then use the chemotherapy drug docetaxel when cancer progresses.

A medical oncologist at the Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston led the 790-patient trial, which found that 69 percent of the men who started with the combination therapy where alive after three years, compared with 52.5 percent who initially were on hormone therapy. The survival advantage was so significant that the NCI, which funded the study, decided to release its finding early.

Men whose prostate cancer spread to at least four locations in bone or to a major organ were the most likely to benefit from the combination therapy.

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