Why Not Use Chemotherapy in Men without Metastatic (M0) Prostate Cancer?

Often, I am asked why someone newly diagnosed with prostate cancer doesn’t automatically get chemotherapy along with hormone therapy (ADT)?   There is a good reason.

There was a study sponsored by Sanofi that evaluated this question.  Men were given intermittent ADT plus or minus taxanes (chemotherapy) in the hormone-sensitive M0 (no visible signs of metastatic prostate cancer) space. The trial was halted because the men receiving the combination of ADT and chemotherapy did not show a dramatic signal (it didn’t provide them with any benefit). 

The best explanation for this is that chemotherapy is not it’s as useful in this slower progressing group of men. Chemotherapy attacks and kills the faster-growing cells and is not as effective in those cells that are not growing quickly.  The M0 stage of prostate cancer is characterized by cells that are not proliferating. Therefore, using chemotherapy on men with MO prostate cancer will not benefit them. 

Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW wrote this Post.  Joel is the CEO/Executive Director of Cancer ABCs.  He is a Cancer Thriver diagnosed with five primary cancers - Thyroid, Metastatic Prostate, Renal, Melanoma, and the rare cancer Appendiceal cancer.