Prostate Cancer Articles

Articles

  • Building Data-Driven Pathways From Routinely Collected Hospital Data: A Case Study on Prostate Cancer.

    Routinely collected data in hospitals is complex, typically heterogeneous, and scattered across multiple Hospital Information Systems (HIS). This big data, created as a byproduct of health care activities, has the potential to provide a better understanding of diseases, unearth hidden patterns, and improve services and cost.

    Published August 26, 2015
  • Burden of Metastatic Castrate Naive Prostate Cancer Patients, to Identify Men More Likely to Benefit from Early Docetaxel: Further Analyses of CHAARTED and GETUG-AFU15 Studies.

    Docetaxel (D) at the time of starting androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for metastatic castrate naive prostate cancer shows a clear survival benefit for patients with high-volume (HV) disease. It is unclear whether patients with low-volume (LV) disease benefit from early D.

    Published February 27, 2018
  • c-MYC drives histone demethylase PHF8 during neuroendocrine differentiation and in castration-resistant prostate cancer.

    Epigenetic factors play critical roles in prostate cancer (PCa) development. However, how they contribute to neuroendocrine differentiation (NED) and castration-resistant PCa (CRPC) is not fully understood.

    Published October 7, 2016
  • c-Myc is a novel target of cell cycle arrest by honokiol in prostate cancer cells.

    Honokiol (HNK), a highly promising phytochemical derived from Magnolia officinalis plant, exhibits in vitro and in vivo anticancer activity against prostate cancer but the underlying mechanism is not fully clear.

    Published June 28, 2016
  • c-Src, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I Receptor, G-Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinases and Focal Adhesion Kinase Are Enriched into Prostate Cancer Cell Exosomes.

    It is well known that Src tyrosine kinase, insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-IR), and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) play important roles in prostate cancer (PrCa) development and progression.

    Published June 1, 2016
  • Cabazitaxel regimens inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells and enhances the anti-tumor properties of PEDF with various efficacy and toxicity.

    Taxanes chemotherapies represent the major therapeutic alternative for symptomatic mCRPC. While docetaxel is the most commonly prescribed Taxane for mCRPC; cabazitaxel has been approved for patients unresponsive to docetaxel.

    Published May 16, 2018
  • Cabozantinib for Progressive Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer Following Docetaxel: Combined Analysis of Two Phase 3 Trials.

    Two phase 3 trials, COMET-1 and COMET-2, have reported that cabozantinib did not significantly extend overall survival (OS) compared to prednisone and prednisone plus mitoxantrone, respectively, in post-docetaxel patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).

    Published August 20, 2019
  • Cabozantinib Versus Mitoxantrone-prednisone in Symptomatic Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer: A Randomized Phase 3 Trial with a Primary Pain Endpoint.

    Bone metastases in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) are associated with debilitating pain and functional compromise.

    To compare pain palliation as the primary endpoint for cabozantinib versus mitoxantrone-prednisone in men with mCRPC and symptomatic bone metastases using patient-reported outcome measures.

    Published December 24, 2018
  • CACUL1 functions as a negative regulator of androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells.

    The androgen receptor (AR) plays a critical role in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer (PCa), and thus its regulation is an important tool in PCa therapy. Here, we report that CDK2-associated cullin 1 (CACUL1) directly associates with AR and suppresses AR transcriptional activity.

    Published April 28, 2016
  • Calcitriol and 20(S)-protopanaxadiol synergistically inhibit growth and induce apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells.

    The potential cancer preventive roles of calcitriol, the dihydroxylated metabolite of vitamin D3, as well as 20(S)-protopanaxadiol (aPPD), the aglycone of the protopanaxadiol family of ginsenosides, have gained much attention in recent years for the prevention/treatment of prostate cancer (PCa).

    Published January 1, 2016
  • Calcitriol in Combination Therapy for Prostate Cancer: Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Interactions.

    Epidemiological studies indicate that vitamin D insufficiency could have an etiological role in prostate cancer. In addition, calcitriol, used in combination with currently available drugs, has the potential to potentiate their anticancer effects or act synergistically by inhibiting distinct mechanisms involved in prostate cancer growth.

    Published March 4, 2016
  • Calcium intake, polymorphisms of the calcium-sensing receptor, and recurrent/aggressive prostate cancer.

    To assess whether calcium intake and common genetic variants of the calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) are associated with either aggressive prostate cancer (PCa) or disease recurrence after prostatectomy.

    Published September 29, 2015
  • Calculating Life Expectancy to Inform Prostate Cancer Screening and Treatment Decisions.

    Current guidelines for prostate cancer (PCa) consider life expectancy (LE) an important factor when making screening and treatment decisions. For patients with LE<10 years, most guidelines recommend against PCa screening and active surveillance or definitive treatment of low risk disease.

    Published February 23, 2017
  • Can a peri-rectal hydrogel spaceOAR programme for prostate cancer intensity-modulated radiotherapy be successfully implemented in a regional setting?

    The aim of this study was to investigate whether the implementation of a hydrogel spacer (SpaceOAR) programme for patients treated with 81 Gy prostate intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in a regional setting can reduce rectal doses and toxicity.

    Published February 6, 2017
  • Can androgen-deprivation therapy obviate the need of channel transurethral resection of the prostate in advanced prostate cancer with urinary retention? A prospective study.

    To evaluate the efficacy of androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) in relieving urinary retention in patients with advanced prostate cancer presenting with urinary retention or a high post-void residual urine volume (PVR).

    Published January 23, 2018
  • Can atorvastatin with metformin change the natural history of prostate cancer as characterized by molecular, metabolomic, imaging and pathological variables? A randomized controlled trial protocol.

    Atorvastatin and metformin are known energy restricting mimetic agents that act synergistically to produce molecular and metabolic changes in advanced prostate cancer (PCa). This trial seeks to determine whether these drugs favourably alter selected parameters in men with clinically-localized, aggressive PCa.

    Published July 4, 2016
  • Can bone scans guide therapy with radium-223 dichloride for prostate cancer bone metastases?

    Radium-223 dichloride (Ra-223 Xofigo) has recently been approved as an addition to the host of available therapies in the USA as a treatment option for metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) with bone metastases.

    Published September 25, 2018
  • Can Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment Predict Tolerance of Radiotherapy for Localized Prostate Cancer in Men Aged 75 Years or Older?

    Curative radiotherapy for prostate cancer is common in the elderly. However, concerns about potential toxicity have inhibited access to radiotherapy for this population, for whom preserving quality of life (QoL) is crucial.

    Published March 23, 2020
  • Can fluorescence-guided surgery help identify all lesions in unknown locations or is the integrated use of a roadmap created by preoperative imaging mandatory? A blinded study in prostate cancer patients.

    Rationale: Lymphatic tracers can help visualize the lymphatic drainage patterns and sentinel nodes of individual prostate cancer patients. To determine the role of nuclear medicine, in particular the positional guidance of a SPECT/CT-based 3D imaging roadmap, in this process we studied to which extend fluorescence-guidance underestimated the number of target lesions.

    Published November 14, 2019
  • Can high resolution micro-ultrasound replace MRI in the diagnosis of prostate cancer?

    High resolution micro-ultrasound (micro-u/s) is a novel technology that permits visualization of lesions suspicious for prostate cancer. The resolution of 70 μ, that of a prostatic duct, means that alterations in ductal anatomy and cellular density are readily apparent.

    Published December 5, 2019
  • Can pre- and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging predict recurrence-free survival after whole-gland high-intensity focused ablation for prostate cancer?

    Our aim was to assess whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features predict recurrence-free survival (RFS) after prostate cancer high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation.

    We retrospectively selected 81 patients who underwent (i) whole-gland HIFU ablation between 2007 and 2011 as first-line therapy or salvage treatment after radiotherapy or brachytherapy, and (ii) pre- and postoperative MRI.

    Published July 29, 2016
  • Can we avoid dose escalation for intermediate-risk prostate cancer in the setting of short-course neoadjuvant androgen deprivation?

    Both dose-escalated external beam radiotherapy (DE-EBRT) and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) improve the outcomes in patients with intermediate-risk prostate cancer. Despite this, there are only few reports evaluating DE-EBRT for patients with intermediate-risk prostate cancer receiving neoadjuvant ADT, and virtually no studies investigating dose escalation >74 Gy in this setting.

    Published April 21, 2016
  • Can We Improve the Preoperative Prediction of Prostate Cancer Recurrence With Multiparametric MRI?

    The use of multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) to assess prostate cancer (PCa) has increased over the past decade. We aimed to assess if preoperative mpMRI lesion score, a variable routinely available for men undergoing pre-biopsy MRI, improves the performance of commonly used preoperative predictive models for PCa recurrence.

    Published June 21, 2019
  • Canadian Men's perspectives about active surveillance in prostate cancer: need for guidance and resources.

    In prostate cancer, men diagnosed with low risk disease may be monitored through an active surveillance. This research explored the perspectives of men with prostate cancer regarding their decision-making process for active surveillance to identify factors that influence their decision and assist health professionals in having conversations about this option.

    Published October 30, 2017
  • Cancer burden with ageing population in urban regions in China: projection on cancer registry data from World Health Organization.

    China is facing the challenges of an expanding ageing population and the impact of rapid urbanization, cancer rates are subsequently increasing. This study focuses on the changes of the ageing population and projects the incidence of common ageing-related cancers in the urban regions in China up to 2030.

    Published December 9, 2016
  • Cancer Cell Radiobiological Studies Using In-House-Developed α-Particle Irradiator.

    An α-particle irradiator, enabling high-precision irradiation of cells for in vitro studies, has been constructed. The irradiation source was a (241)Am source, on which well inserts containing cancer cells growing in monolayer were placed.

    Published November 16, 2015
  • Cancer is associated with intraoperative and postprocedural complications and disorders.

    To analyze the impact of cancer on intraoperative and postprocedural complications (IPCs) in Germany.

    Patients with first diagnosis of IPCs between 2010 and 2015 were identified in 982 general practitioners in the IMS Disease Analyzer database.

    Published December 18, 2015
  • Cancer Location in Upgrading and Detection after Transperineal Template-Guided Mapping Biopsy for Patients in Active Surveillance and Negative Transrectal Ultrasonography-Guided Prostate Biopsy.

    We investigated the efficacy of transperineal template-guided mapping biopsy (TTMB) for patients on active surveillance (AS) or those with previous negative transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy (TRUS-Bx).

    Published July 5, 2019
  • Cancer patients' knowledge about their disease and treatment before, during and after treatment: a prospective, longitudinal study.

    Knowledge about disease and treatment is necessary before patients can consent to treatment. One of the few established instruments for evaluating whether sufficient information has been provided, is the EORTC QLQ-INFO25 questionnaire which was developed to measure how patients perceive information.

    Published April 13, 2018
  • Cancer stem cells in prostate cancer radioresistance.

    Cancer stem cells (CSCs) in prostate cancer (CaP) are regarded as major contributors to radioresistance due to complex mechanisms including enhanced DNA repair, increased intracellular reactive oxygen species scavenging, activation of anti-apoptotic pathways, microenvironment hypoxia, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and autophagy.

    Published September 9, 2019
  • Cancer survivors' and partners' key concerns and quality of life.

    Understanding the concerns of cancer survivors is essential for effective interventions. This study was designed to identify the primary concerns of dyads coping with cancer, how concerns differed by role and sex, and whether concerns expressed during counselling were associated with survivors' psychosocial well-being and adjustment.

    Published October 26, 2017
  • Cancer-related hospitalisations and 'unknown' stage prostate cancer: a population-based record linkage study.

    To identify reasons for prostate cancer stage being recorded as 'unknown' in Australia's largest population-based cancer registry.

    Prospective population-based cohort.

    New South Wales (NSW) is the most populous state in Australia, with almost one third of the total national population.

    Published January 19, 2017
  • Cancer-related symptoms, mental well-being, and psychological distress in men diagnosed with prostate cancer treated with androgen deprivation therapy.

    There are known associations between treatment of prostate cancer (PCa) involving Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) and psychological and physical side effects. We investigate the associations between cancer-related symptoms, health-related quality of life (HRQL), and poor psychological outcomes in men whose treatment for PCa involved ADT.

    Published May 31, 2019
  • Cancer-specific mortality in men diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 50 years, a nationwide population-based study.

    To compare the clinical characteristics and cancer-specific mortality in men diagnosed with prostate cancer before versus after age 50 years.

    919 men aged 35 to 49 years and 45,098 men aged 50 to 66 years, diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1998 and 2012, were identified in Prostate Cancer data Base Sweden (PCBaSe).

    Published June 21, 2016
  • Cancer/testis antigen SPATA19 is frequently expressed in benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.

    Spermatogenesis-associated 19 (SPATA19) is a cancer/testis antigen overexpressed in various cancers. However, its protein expression profile in malignant or non-malignant tissues remains unknown. Thus, in this study, we investigated SPATA19 protein expression patterns in a panel of non-malignant human samples and primary prostate cancer (PCa) with or without benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) tissues.

    Published October 6, 2017
  • Cancer/Testis Antigens: "Smart" Biomarkers for Diagnosis and Prognosis of Prostate and Other Cancers.

    A clinical dilemma in the management of prostate cancer (PCa) is to distinguish men with aggressive disease who need definitive treatment from men who may not require immediate intervention. Accurate prediction of disease behavior is critical because radical treatment is associated with high morbidity.

    Published April 2, 2017
  • Capacitive hyperthermia as an alternative to brachytherapy in DNA damages of human prostate cancer cell line (DU-145).

    The aim of this study was the evaluation of induced DNA damages of human prostate cancer cells, DU-145, treated with a combination of radiofrequency capacitive hyperthermia (HT) and teletherapy (EBRT) compared to a combination of teletherapy with high-dose rate brachytherapy (BR).

    Published October 29, 2018
  • CAPE suppresses migration and invasion of prostate cancer cells via activation of non-canonical Wnt signaling.

    Prostate cancer (PCa) was the fifth most common cancer overall in the world. More than 80% of patients died from PCa developed bone metastases. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is a main bioactive component of honeybee hive propolis.

    Published May 19, 2016
  • Carbon-ion Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer: Analysis of Morbidities and Change in Health-related Quality of Life.

    To prospectively evaluate the feasibility of carbon-ion radiotherapy (C-ion RT) for prostate cancer using a new compact-sized accelerator.

    Seventy-six patients underwent C-ion RT at our center using a recommended dose fractionation of 57.

    Published September 29, 2015
  • Carbonic anhydrase IX is a marker of hypoxia and correlates with higher Gleason scores and ISUP grading in prostate cancer.

    Carbonic anhydrase IX is a member of α-carbonic anhydrases that is preferentially expressed in solid tumors. It enables bicarbonate transport across the plasma membrane, neutralizing intracellular pH and conferring to cancer cells a survival advantage in hypoxic/acidic microenvironments.

    Published June 3, 2016
  • Carcinosarcoma of the prostate: case report with molecular and histological characterization.

    We report a case of prostatic carcinosarcoma, a rare variant of prostatic cancer, which is composed of a mixture of epithelial and mesenchymal components with a generally poor outcome.

    We aim to identify molecular alterations, in particular copy number variations of AR and c -MYC genes, methylation and expression of glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1), programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), AR, and phosphorylated AR expression.

    Published August 23, 2018
  • Cardiovascular Mortality Following Short-term Androgen Deprivation in Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer: An Analysis of RTOG 94-08.

    Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is associated with coronary heart disease and diabetes in men with prostate cancer (PCa); however, controversy exists regarding ADT and cardiovascular mortality (CVM) with limited data for lower risk disease.

    Published September 23, 2015
  • Cardiovascular Preventive Care and Coordination Of Care In Prostate Cancer Survivors: A Multi-Institutional Prospective Study.

    Prostate cancer survivors who receive androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. They require coordinated care between cancer specialist and primary care physicians (PCPs) to monitor for cancer control and manage cardiovascular risk factors.

    Published August 23, 2018
  • Cardiovascular Risk in Men with Prostate Cancer: Insights from the RADICAL PC Study.

    To describe the cardiovascular risk profile in a representative cohort of prostate cancer patients treated with or without androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).

    We prospectively characterized in detail 2492 consecutive men (mean age 68 years) with prostate cancer (newly diagnosed or with a plan to prescribe ADT for the first time) from 16 Canadian sites.

    Published January 7, 2020
  • Cardiovascular risk with androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer: Potential mechanisms.

    Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is frequently used for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. ADT is associated with numerous side effects related to its mode of action, namely the suppression of testosterone to castrate levels.

    Published August 31, 2015
  • CARG tool’s ability to predict older prostate cancer patients’ risk of toxicity: Beyond the Abstract

    Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in American men and mostly affects men above age 65. [1]  The American Cancer Society predicts 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer and 26,730 deaths from prostate cancer in the United States in the year 2017. [1]  Although fewer than 10% of people are diagnosed with de novo metastatic disease, many men with early stage prostate cancer will eventually develop metastatic disease. The initial treatment of metastatic disease is androgen deprivation therapy, but this is only effective for a few years, after which the disease continues to progress.  At this point it is referred to as metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).  About 10-20% of people are diagnosed with mCRPC within 5 years of a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but more than 50% of patients with mCRPC die within 3 years. [2]  mCRPC is currently defined as the progression of the prostate cancer despite castrate levels of testosterone (usually defined as <1.7nmol/L). [2]  Progression to mCRPC is typically associated with worsening symptoms, declining quality of life and worsening pain.  However, mCRPC may be helped by other forms of hormone therapy such as the androgen receptor axis-targeted (ARAT) agents Abiraterone and Enzalutamide because it is not completely hormone-refractory. [3]  Patients who become resistant to ARAT therapy usually are considered for chemotherapy. [4]  In 2004, docetaxel became the standard of care for mCRPC. Later, cabazitaxel was also found to be beneficial in patients with mCRPC that progressed after receiving docetaxel therapy. [2]

    Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy remains the treatment of choice in symptomatic mCRPC, but survival benefits after undergoing chemotherapy are modest (on the order of a few months).  In comparison to mitoxantrone (the prior standard chemotherapy agent), docetaxel was associated with better pain control, quality of life and more frequent PSA responses. [5]  However, chemotherapy can also be associated with significant toxicity, with 18-44% rates of grade 3 or higher toxicity.  National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events defines grade 3 as severe, grade 4 as life-threatening or disability and grade 5 as death. [6]  Common toxicities from chemotherapy include neutropenia, generalized weakness, bone pain, fatigue, peripheral edema and mucositis.  The most common grade 3 to 5 toxicities with docetaxel are: neutropenia, leucopenia, anemia, fatigue, infection and dehydration. [5]

    Currently, there is a need to find tools that can help identify men who may be more or less likely to experience serious toxicity from chemotherapy because it could help during treatment decision-making. Predicting toxicities would help doctors determine the side effects and toxicities that specific patients might develop before prescribing the treatment.  This way, it would make it easier for them to determine which treatment method would work, at which dose and method of delivery.  Making a more informed decision can be important in this setting because of the increased risk of death or functional decline.  It is especially helpful to be able to predict these toxicities in older adults because the risk of toxicity increases with age.  In practice, chemotherapy is less likely to be given to older adults due to the concerns about their ability to tolerate it. [6]  Many older adults tend to place an increasing value on avoiding treatments that adversely affect their quality of life or functional independence. [7]  Since older adults have a higher risk of toxicity and place an increasing importance on quality of life, oncologists may find it harder to suggest the best treatment option.  Hence, it would be useful to be able to predict toxicities from chemotherapy.  This advancement in toxicity prediction would also help select up-front treatment modifications such as dose reduction or the addition of colony-stimulating factors to reduce toxicity.

    Tools such as the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status (PS) 5-point scale are currently used to determine risk by assessing a patient’s level of function and capability to perform self-care.  Although this tool is a prognostic factor for survival and may help select which patients should not get chemotherapy, it is a poor predictor of toxicity risk because it is subjective, being subject to bias and high interobserver variability. [8]  Oncologist judgement in stratifying patients into those at lower or higher risk of toxicity may be better, but it has rarely been formally compared against measures such as the ECOG PS.  Finally, the agreement between currently used tools such as PS and clinical judgement by oncologists is still quite low. [9]

    Our study sought to identify tools that could help inform treatment decision-making by improving the ability to predict a patient’s risk of chemotherapy toxicity.  Distinguishing men at lower and higher risk of severe toxicity in men with mCRPC would help make better treatment decisions and allow a more informed decision about the risks and benefits of chemotherapy.  In patients with very high risks of toxicity that may counterbalance any perceived benefits, there are four main options besides conventional dose chemotherapy: (a) reduced-dose chemotherapy; (b) use of colony-stimulating factors to reduce neutropenia and related complications; (c) alternative, gentler agents or clinical trials of novel therapies; (d) best supportive care.  While our study did not focus on which treatment might be best, we sought to validate the Vulnerable Elders Survey-13 (VES-13) and Cancer and Aging Research Group (CARG) tool in mCRPC with the goal of helping a clinician’s judgment. 

    VES-13

    The VES-13 is a brief (3-4 minutes), self-report tool that measures vulnerability.  The initial purpose of developing this tool was to better screen older persons at risk of health deterioration. [10]  In the original study, vulnerable older people were defined as persons age 65 and older who were at increased risk of functional decline or death over 2 years. [10]  The instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and activities of daily living (ADLs) that the VES-13 focuses on include shopping, performing light housework, managing finances, preparing meals, using the telephone, bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, walking across the room, and eating. [10]   However, its ability to predict grade 3-5 chemotherapy toxicity has yet to be studied. 

    CARG 

    The CARG tool uses a combination of 11 parameters, including age, tumor and treatment characteristics, laboratory data, and specific geriatric assessment parameters to help predict grade 3-5 chemotherapy toxicity in older patients with cancer.  It categorizes people into low, intermediate and high risk of severe chemotherapy toxicity, in our case grade 3+ chemotherapy toxicity.  It does include a geriatric assessment questionnaire with 6 domains: functional status, co-morbidity, psychological state, social activity, social support, and nutrition.  The purpose of developing the CARG tool was to identify risk factors for chemotherapy toxicity in older adults undergoing various chemotherapy regimens and create a user-friendly risk stratification schema for chemotherapy toxicity. [6]  The CARG tool was derived from a study of 500 patients undergoing a variety of chemotherapy regimens for various solid tumors. The CARG tool was recently validated externally [11] and helps to identify patients at greatest risk of chemotherapy toxicity.  Although the CARG tool has been proven in a mixed cohort of patients with various cancers, there are no validation data for patients with mCRPC, and only 10% of the patients in the original study had genitourinary cancers. [6]  Since different chemotherapy regimens have different toxicity risks, it is important to validate such tools in a more homogeneous cohort to ensure findings are similar to mixed cohorts. 

    Oncologist Judgment

    For our study, we had each patient’s medical oncologist rate the patient’s risk of chemotherapy toxicity on a 10-point scale.  “Oncologists are left with little guidance when it comes to identifying risk factors other than chronologic age or performance status, neither of which has been shown to predict well in heterogeneous older adult populations.” [6] 

    Methods

    We recruited men aged 65 or older with mCRPC who were starting either first-line chemotherapy (receiving chemotherapy for the first time) or second-line chemotherapy (stopped first-line chemotherapy because of disease progression, toxicity, or other reasons).  All but two (4%) participants received docetaxel-based chemotherapy, and the majority (n=29, 63%) received the standard dose of 75 mg/m2 every 3 weeks.  Ten (22%) received a dose of 60 mg/m2, whereas 5 (11%) received a lower dose than this.  Subjects were recruited either prior to starting chemotherapy or within the first two cycles as long as there was no dose reduction.  Men unable to come for study visits or with a life expectancy of less than 3 months, a major neuropsychiatric abnormality, or limited English were excluded from the study.

    We collected socio-demographic and medical information on all subjects at baseline, as well as physical performance measures (grip strength, timed up and go, and timed chair stands).  The CARG and VES-13 tools were administered as well.  The CARG toxicity prediction model was used to stratify patients into three groups (low, intermediate, and high risk) based on risk for grade 3+ chemotherapy toxicity.  The VES-13 was used to measure vulnerability, which was defined by a score of 3 or greater.  This cut-off point follows the conventional scoring system, but we also examined cut-offs of 2 or greater and 4 or greater.  We also asked each subject’s treating physician to provide an estimate of the risk of chemotherapy toxicity on a scale from 1 (lowest risk) to 10 (highest risk).  Oncologists were not told the results of the other assessment tools used in the study. 

    Following the baseline visit, follow-up assessments were performed after each cycle of chemotherapy (every 3 weeks) and after the final cycle.  At each visit, a trained research coordinator recorded chemotherapy-related toxicities using the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0 (NCI CTCAE v4).  Laboratory-based toxicities such as neutropenia were based on blood tests performed every three weeks.  These same procedures were followed to record toxicity for men who were recruited after already having started chemotherapy, including for cycles administered before being enrolled on the study.

    Sample sizes were based on the assumption that we would see the same rate of toxicity as in the original CARG study (i.e. 30% risk of grade 3+ toxicity for the low risk group, 52% for intermediate, and 83% for high) [6] and that equal proportions of patients would be enrolled in each risk group (i.e. one-third for each).  Based on these assumptions, we calculated that we would require 45 patients. 

    Results

    46 men were recruited for the study with a mean age of 75.  These participants had a median PSA level at baseline of 243.7 ng/mL and had relatively few other major medical problems (median Charlson Comorbidity Index score of 0).  Although participants had a fairly high performance status (mean Karnofsky score of 77%), 50% were considered vulnerable based on the VES-13.  Based on the CARG tool, only 2 (4%) patients were considered low risk, 29 (63%) were intermediate, and 15 (33%) were high risk of severe chemotherapy toxicity. 

    Grade 3+ and grade 2 chemotherapy toxicity were experienced by 20% and 67% of patients, respectively.  The most common grade 3-5 toxicities were neutropenia (30%), generalized weakness (23%), and bone pain (15%), and the most common grade 2 toxicities were fatigue (35%), peripheral edema (7%), and mucositis (7%).

    Grade 3+ toxicity was observed in 0 (0%), 5 (17%) and 4 (27%) patients in low, intermediate, and high CARG risk groups respectively, suggesting an incremental pattern across risk groups.  However, this pattern was not statistically significant (p = 0.65).  22% of patients considered vulnerable by the VES-13 experienced grade 3+ toxicity, compared to 17% of patients considered non-vulnerable (p = 0.71).  Age, comorbidity, Karnofsky performance score, and baseline physical performance measures did not seem to be predictors of grade 3+ toxicity.  In addition, oncologist judgment of toxicity risk was a relatively poor predictor of actual toxicity.

    The ability of the CARG tool to predict grade 2 toxicity appeared to be higher than the ability of the VES-13 to predict these toxicities, but this was not statistically significant, likely due to our small sample size (p = 0.072 for CARG, 0.75 for VES-13).  Limiting the analyses to only those participants who were recruited prior to starting chemotherapy did not alter the findings.

    The rates of grade 3+ toxicity found in our cohort were relatively low overall: only 20% compared to the 53% observed in the original CARG study.  The same pattern was found in the three individual risk groups, with lower rates of toxicities observed in each compared to the original CARG study.  However, the rate of toxicity in our cohort was similar to rates reported in other studies of older men with mCRPC.  For example, the TAX327 trial by Tannock et al. reported severe adverse events in 26% of subjects, and grade 3+ neutropenia in 32%. [5]

    Although we did not find statistically significant results for either of the tools tested, we did observe three key findings in our study.  First, the risk of grade 3+ toxicity with docetaxel-based chemotherapy in the mCRPC population is lower overall and across CARG risk groups compared to the rates observed in the original study, which used data from patients with a variety of cancers.  However, we still found that there was a gradient of toxicity risk across the different CARG risk groups (i.e. 0% in low, 17% in moderate, and 27% in the high risk group).  Therefore, there is a need for further validation studies conducted with older men with mCRPC.

    Second, our data on the performance of the VES-13 are the first in this population.  Even though our findings were negative, we believe they warrant further investigation because of the ease of use and emerging value of the VES-13 in other geriatric oncology settings (e.g. 12).  Third, we also provided the first data looking at oncologist judgment of toxicity risk, and compared that to the CARG and VES-13 tools.  For tools to be useful in a busy clinical setting, they must provide better predictive ability than the usual clinical care.  Therefore, further investigation in this area is important.

    Some other limitations include the fact that we conducted our study at a single academic cancer center, limiting generalizability, and did not use the CRASH tool, another popular tool for predicting toxicities. [13]  Future studies should directly compare the CRASH and CARG tools in the mCRPC setting.  Lastly, the 10-point rating scale we used for oncologist predictions has not been validated in this context, and we did not provide any numerical anchors.  Therefore, the different ratings may have meant different things to different oncologists.  Further investigation is warranted in these areas.

    Conclusion

    In summary, toxicity with docetaxel in a cohort of older men in usual clinical practice was lower than predicted by the CARG tool.  Although the CARG tool appeared to differentiate those at lower versus higher risk of chemotherapy toxicity and was better than clinician judgement or ECOG PS, a larger validation study is needed.

    Written By: Thavalis Ja, Rathore Ma, Breunis Ha, Alibhai SMHa,b,c
    a. Department of Medicine, University Health Network 

    b. Department of Medicine, University of Toronto 
    c. Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto 

    References 

    1. American Cancer Society. Key statistics for prostate cancer [Internet]. American Cancer Society Inc.; 2016 [updated 2017 Jan 5]. Available from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html 
    2. Nussbaum N, George DJ, Abernethy AP, Dolan CM, Oestreicher N, Flanders S, Dorff TB. Patient experience in the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer: state of the science. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. 2016 Jun 1;19(2):111-21. 
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    Read the Abstract
    Published June 1, 2017
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