MONDAY, June 5, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've found a powerful new weapon in the fight against deadly metastatic prostate cancer.
A new treatment that uses both chemotherapy with radionuclide therapy may actually cause the disease to regress -- and improve patients' long-term survival odds.
"A new treatment protocol combining radionuclide therapy and chemotherapy may represent a distinct advantage over conventional protocols, especially when patients have metastatic (or spreading) prostate cancer that is not responding to hormonal therapy," Giuliano Mariani, director at the Regional Center of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Pisa Medical School in Italy, said in a prepared statement.
"Radionuclide therapy alleviated bone pain, but preliminary observations indicated that -- if adequately combined with chemotherapy -- it might produce clinical benefit in terms of regression and prolonged survival," said Mariani.
The research, based on the use of radioisotope Samarium-153 with carrier EDTMP nuclide therapy, along with chemotherapy, provided pain relief to patients as well as disease regression and prolonged survival.
"The blood-toxic effects of our combination regimen were mild and comparable to those observed when the two therapies were used separately," said Mariani. "The majority of patients treated so far have either stable disease or regression of disease in a six-month follow up," he added.
The results were to be released Monday at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's annual meeting, in San Diego.
Mariani added that additional research was needed to determine if increasing the dosage of the combined treatments would provide an even higher improvement in stopping the progression of the disease -- without causing toxic side effects to the patient.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation has more information on prostate cancer