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A Breakthrough for Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer

Dr. Edward Arrowsmith

by Dr. Edward Arrowsmith


The current version of The New England Journal of Medicine was just delivered to my desk today. It contains the definitive results of a study that, after Dr. Chris Sweeney presented the results last year, has already had a major impact on the management of men with prostate cancer.

For almost a century, it’s been known that hormone therapy that lowers testosterone (either surgery or medications like Lupron) helped men with prostate cancer that had spread to their bones or other organs live longer and live better. For more than a decade, Medical Oncologists have been using the chemotherapy drug docetaxel (also called Taxotere) to treat men with advanced prostate cancer that had worsened despite hormone therapy. Given the effectiveness in this advanced setting, we’ve wondered if use early in the course of prostate cancer could be even more effective. Dr. Sweeney’s study, known as the CHAARTED study, shows that this hypothesis is true. It demonstrated that men who were treated with docetaxel chemotherapy when hormone therapy was started lived about 40% longer than those treated with hormone therapy alone. At the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in June, a similar study from United Kingdom know as the STAMPEDE study was presented and showed similar results including in men who had not yet developed spread of cancer.

For all of us in Tennessee Oncology, these results have changed our practices and are making a difference in the lives of our patients.


Dr. Edward Arrowsmith, a physician with Tennessee Oncology, Chattanooga