High dose vitamin D to be tried with advanced prostate cancer patients
Oregon Health & Science University will be conducting a study utilizing a combination of the chemotherapy drug docetaxel, marketed under the name Taxotere, in combination with a high dose active form of vitamin D called calcitriol in patients with androgen-independent prostate cancer (AIPC).
Oregon Health & Science University is one of over twenty centers who will be taking part in the AIPC Study of Calcitriol Enhancing Taxotere (ASCENT) trial.
The ASCENT trial is based on positive results provided by a preliminary study at the University, and will be enrolling 232 patients with androgen-independent prostate cancer, an advanced form of the disease. While the prognosis for prostate cancer is good when the disease is diagnosed in its early stages, current therapeutic options for advanced forms of the disease are limited.
Participants will be randomized to receive docetaxel alone or in combination with once per week calcitriol. The researchers are hoping to reduce prostate specific antigen levels by 50 percent or more in a significant number of patients receiving the drug combination. Prostate specific antigen, or PSA, is produced by the prostate gland, and is used as a marker of disease progression in prostate cancer patients.
In the preliminary study, the combination of Taxotere and weekly calcitriol elicited a 50 percent or more reduction in PSA in 81 percent of patients treated, compared with a 50 percent PSA reduction in 38 to 46 percent of patients who received docetaxel alone in other studies.
Study Chairman and assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Heath & Science University, Tomasz Beer, MD, commented, "Late-stage prostate cancer patients have few treatment options, and we are cautiously hopeful that this study will further confirm and extend the promising results we've already seen with docetaxel in combination with high-dose pulse administration (HDPA) calcitriol."
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