Advanced prostate cancer has been recognized as being responsive to androgen deprivation since the 1940s when Charles Huggins first described the role of surgical castration in managing these patients. However, androgen deprivation only results in transient disease control for the vast majority of men, with those progressing in spite of castrate testosterone levels labeled as having castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Until 2004, the therapeutic arena for these patients had remained stagnant, with no agent having shown a survival gain in the CRPC setting. Two landmark publications changed the prostate cancer treatment landscape by providing 'level-1 evidence' that docetaxel-based chemotherapy led to prolongation in overall survival (OS). This was followed by the approval of cabazitaxel in 2010 on the basis of Phase III data demonstrating its efficacy in patients pretreated with docetaxel. More recently, a number of next-generation androgen-directed agents (e.g. abiraterone and enzalutamide) have also been shown to lead to a survival benefit in men with CRPC. With so many new treatment options available, a number of questions remain. These include: how to best sequence chemotherapy with these newer hormonal agents, the clinical implication of cross-resistance between taxanes and androgen-directed agents and which subsets of patients may benefit most from early use of chemotherapy. This review will provide an overview of the evolving role of chemotherapy in the management of advanced prostate cancer in the current era.
- Prostate cancer