A drug women have long used to battle breast cancer also can help men with advanced prostate cancer live a little longer, the Food and Drug Administration ruled Wednesday. The drug is Taxotere, and used together with the steroid prednisone it becomes the first treatment that the FDA deems potentially life-lengthening for men whose advanced prostate cancer doesn't respond to hormone therapy. In a study comparing the Taxotere-prednisone combination to standard therapy, the Taxotere users lived on average 2.5 months longer. "For the first time, we can tell patients that there is something that actually has a promise of a survival benefit," said Ramzi Dagher of the FDA.
Taxotere, manufactured by Aventis Pharmaceuticals and known chemically as docetaxel, is best known as a treatment for breast cancer; it's also used against lung cancer. For prostate cancer, patients must take the steroid prednisone daily and a Taxotere injection once every three weeks. No one yet knows why that combination is important for the prostate effect, Dagher said.
Some 230,900 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States this year, the American Cancer Society estimates, and 29,900 will die. (AP)