Tuesday’s news update: November 18, 2008


Today’s news items include information about:

  • The potential of spinal MRI in diagnosis of men at risk for spinal metastasis
  • A review of data on use of PDE5 inhibitors to manage post-surgical erectile dysfunction
  • A “flare” phenomenom associated with docetaxel therapy in some patients
  • The current status of the STAMPEDE clinical trial

Based on a cohort of 100 patients in the UK, Venkitaraman et al. have published data suggesting that magnetic resonance imaging of the spine may be as or more accurate that a bone scan is assessing the likelihood of spinal metastases in men at significant risk for spinal metatstatic disease.

Hatzimouratidis et al. have reviewed the available data on the use of PDE5 inhibitors (drugs like Cialis, Viagra, etc.) in post-surgical treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) and in preventive regimens to maintain erectile function post-prostatectomy. They conclude that PDE5 inhibitors are efficacious and safe in the treatment of ED post-surgery in properly selected patients. However, they further conclude that, despite robust experimental data, the potential of PDE5 inhibitors alone as a rehabilitation strategy is unclear and deserves further investigation.

Sella et al. have documented the occurrence of a PSA “flare” phenomenon in 8/56 men (14 percent) at their institution receiving docetaxel-based chemotherapy for treatment of androgen-independent prostate cancer. However, the flare effect appears to have no impact on treatment duration or outcome.

James et al. have provided an update on the status of the STAMPEDE trial, which is designed to evaluate the toxicity and efficacy of docetaxel, zoledronic acid and celecoxib — used alone or combined at the initiation of hormone manipulation — for patients with high-risk prostate cancer. The trial aims to enroll a total of 3,000 patients, and > 500 patients have been recruited on schedule, confirming the acceptability of this complex, new trial design to patients and clinicians.

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