How taxane chemotherapy works in prostate cancer

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical Center claim to have worked out more precisely how taxane-based chemotherapy (using drugs like paclitaxel, docetaxel, and cabazitaxel) actually works … with particular reference to how it works in prostate cancer.

The full media release describing the work by Giannakakou and her colleagues is available on line for those who are interested. Their original paper appears in Cancer Research.

While this is an intellectually interesting study, their claim that the “role of taxane-based chemotherapy drugs may be underestimated” appears to us to be a little optimistic. While we are sure that adjustments to the application of chemotherapy will be possible that may held to extend survival of some patients, the real trick to addressing most prostate cancers will be to massively reduce the number of men who ever progress to the point at which taxane-based chemotherapy becomes necessary at all. Even in prostate cancer, taxane-based chemotherapy has only a small, median overall survival benefit, which appears to be based on some very good responses to chemotherapy among a relatively small number of patients.

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