Despite the proven success of hormonal therapy for prostate cancer using chemical or surgical castration, most patients eventually will progress to a phase of the disease that is metastatic and shows resistance to further hormonal manipulation.
This has been termed metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Despite this designation, however, there is evidence that androgen receptor (AR)-mediated signaling and gene expression can persist in mCRPC, even in the face of castrate levels of androgen. This may be due in part to the upregulation of enzymes involved in androgen synthesis, the overexpression of AR, or the emergence of mutant ARs with promiscuous recognition of various steroidal ligands. The therapeutic options were limited and palliative in nature until trials in 2004 demonstrated that docetaxel chemotherapy could significantly improve survival. These results established first-line docetaxel as the standard of care for mCRPC. After resistance to further docetaxel therapy develops, treatment options were once again limited. Recently reported results from phase 3 trials have shown that additional therapy with the novel taxane cabazitaxel (with prednisone), or treatment with the antiandrogen abiraterone (with prednisone) could improve survival for patients with mCRPC following docetaxel therapy. Compared with mitoxantrone/prednisone, cabazitaxel/prednisone significantly improved overall survival, with a 30% reduction in rate of death, in patients with progression of mCRPC after docetaxel therapy in the TROPIC trial. Similarly, abiraterone acetate (an inhibitor of androgen biosynthesis) plus prednisone significantly decreased the rate of death by 35% compared with placebo plus prednisone in mCRPC patients progressing after prior docetaxel therapy in the COU-AA-301 trial. Results of these trials have thus established two additional treatment options for mCRPC patients in the "post-docetaxel space." In view of the continued AR-mediated signaling on mCRPC, results from additional phase 3 studies with novel antiandrogens which are directed at inhibition of the AR (e.g., MDV3100), as well as other agents, are awaited with interest and may further expand the treatment choices for this difficult-to-manage population of patients.
Sartor AO. Are you the author?
Reference: J Hematol Oncol. 2011 Apr 23;4(1):18.