Health Diaries > The Prostate Cancer Blog

November 18, 2008

Aspirin May Mask Important Sign of Prostate Cancer

Aspirin or NSAID anti-inflammatory drugs may significantly lower PSA levels and make it difficult for blood tests to reveal prostate cancer, according to a new study.

"These results may suggest that aspirin use decreases the ability to detect prostate cancer and may contribute to prior investigations reporting a protective association between NSAID use and prostate cancer risk," [Dr. Jay H.] Fowke and colleagues wrote.

Given that many men take an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks, this is definitely concerning and needs to be studied further.

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October 12, 2007

Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials in Dallas, Texas Area

My name is Barry Mirtsching, MD. I have directed a clinical research program here at Medical City Dallas Hospital for about 10 years. We now have about 60 studies for various malignancies that are active at the Center for Oncology Research & Treatment. We have expanded to a second location in Plano, TX, for patients who live farther to the North.

I believe we have the most comprehensive program of clinical studies for prostate cancer in the Dallas area. We attempt to have multiple options open for our prostate cancer patients, so they can sequentially have access to a series of therapies. I believe that has tremendously improved survival and disease control in the hormone-refractory patient group of patients that we see.

Our current trials for prostate cancer include (with brief descriptions of the studies and risks):

G-VAX Vaccine Study for Hormone-Refractory Prostate Cancer
G-VAX is a cellular vaccine against prostate cancer. Initial studies have demonstrated activity of G-VAX in prostate cancer patients who have failed hormone treatments (hormone refractory prostate cancer, HRPC). Two national studies of G-VAX for HRPC have been conducted at CORT. The first, VITAL-1, is no longer enrolling patients. This study tested the G-VAX therapy against standard therapy with docetaxel (Taxotere) and prednisone in patients who do not have bone pain related to metastatic disease. The second study, VITAL-2, is continuing at CORT, enrolling patients who have active bone pain related to their metastatic disease. This study tests standard therapy with Taxotere and prednisone with or without the G-VAX vaccine. All patients do receive standard therapy.

The risks of chemotherapy for HRPC in this study are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle or bone aches, sensory neuropathy, fever, allergic reaction, or low blood counts. These risks are those of standard treatment. The risk of G-VAX is injection site swelling and discomfort.

DN-101 (Ascentar) for Hormone-Refractory Prostate Cancer
DN-101 (Ascentar) is a high-dose formulation of the active form of vitamin D. Vitamin D, once thought of as only a hormone that regulates calcium metabolism, is now known to be an important growth regulator in many types of tissues, by its action on vitamin D receptors. Activation of vitamin D receptors slows or stops cell division, and promotes differentiation of cells, the process of cells taking on normal functions. In an initial phase II study, addition of DN-101 to standard chemotherapy with docetaxel (Taxotere) and prednisone has been shown to increase response to treatment and prolong disease control in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC). CORT is conducting a phase III study of standard Taxotere and prednisone therapy with or without Ascentar for the first-line treatment of HRPC. All patients do receive standard therapy.

The risks of chemotherapy for HRPC in this study are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle or bone aches, sensory neuropathy, fever, allergic reaction, or low blood counts. These risks are those of standard treatment. The risk of G-VAX is injection site swelling and discomfort.

XRP6258 for Hormone-Refractory Prostate Cancer
XRP6258 is a novel taxane that has been shown to be active in patients with hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC) who have failed or progressed after prior therapy with docetaxel (Taxotere) and prednisone, the standard first-line treatment for HRPC. CORT is conducting a study of XRP6258 plus prednisone versus standard mitoxantrone (Novantrone) and prednisone in HRPC patients who have failed prior Taxotere therapy.

The risks of XRP6258 are sensory neuropathy, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, low blood counts, fever, infection, allergic reaction, or hair loss. The risks of standard mitoxantrone therapy are fatigue, hair loss, low blood counts, fever, infection, mouth ulcers, or cardiac dysfunction.

Satraplatin for Hormone-Refractory Prostate Cancer
Satraplatin is a platinum chemotherapy compound that can be administered orally. It appears to have minimal risk of neuropathy or kidney injury. Phase III studies have demonstrated that Satraplatin is more active that prednisone alone for patients with advanced HRPC who have already failed existing standard therapies. Satraplatin is pending approval by the FDA. It is currently available only within a study program. CORT is please to offer access to Satraplatin through the Expanded Access Study. All patients who qualify will receive Satraplatin. The risks of Satraplatin include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, and low blood counts.

Combining Chemotherapy with Initial Hormone Therapy for Metastatic Prostate Cancer
Androgen ablation hormonal therapy (castration or LHRH drugs to reduce androgen levels) are the standard initial management for metastatic prostate cancer patients, as most have hormonally sensitive disease. Patients with high risk features (more extensive boney metastatic disease, high Gleason histologic scores) might benefit from the initial addition of chemotherapy to hormonal treatment.

CORT is participating in the national ECOG 3805 study called the CHAARTED (ChemoHormonal Therapy versus Androgen Ablation Randomized Trial for Extensive Disease), which moves docetaxel (Taxotere) chemotherapy earlier into the hormone-sensitive phase of metastatic prostate cancer treatment. Patients with poorer risk, higher PSA levels and higher alkaline phosphatase (bone enzyme) levels with bone pain are randomly assigned to treatment with hormones versus hormones with Taxotere chemotherapy. The goal of the study is to determine if the addition of docetaxel to standard androgen ablation therapy improves remission duration and survival, when compared to androgen deprivation therapy alone.

The side effects most frequently experienced with Taxotere include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, infection, sensory neuropathy, low blood counts, and fever. Standard androgen ablation hormonal therapy may produce fatigue, hot flashes, impotence, increased risk of thrombosis, or loss of libido.

Combination Chemotherapy for Hormone-Refractory Prostate Cancer Failing Initial Therapies
The regimens of ketoconazole, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), vinblastine (Velban), and estramustine (KAVE) or estramustine and vinblastine (EV) are active in patients with hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC) who have progressed following docetaxel (Taxotere) chemotherapy. CORT is participating in the multicenter MDA-3410 study, which tests the KAVE therapy or the EV regimen, followed by weekly doxorubicin for six weeks in HRPC. Patients who complete therapy are then randomly assigned to therapy with a radioactive isotope, Strontium-89 (Sr-89, which is FDA-approved for treatment of metastatic prostate cancer). The goal of the study is to measure the response rate, remission duration, and tolerance of patients to this treatment.

Risks of these treatments include hair loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, thrombosis, low blood counts, fever, sensory neuropathy, deficiency of adrenal hormones, and cardiac dysfunction.

For more information on our research studies, visit, or speak with a Study Coordinator at 972-566-5588.

The CORT blog is located at The prostate studies are also located there.

Barry C. Mirtsching, MD
Clinical Director
Center for Oncology Research & Treatment, PA
Dallas, TX

Office Locations:
Medical City Dallas Office: 7777 Forest Lane, Suite B-242, Dallas, TX 972-566-5588

Presbyterian Hospital of Plano Office: 6124 W. Parker Rd., Suite 532, Plano, TX 75093 972-981-4012

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February 2, 2007

Promising Canadian Prostate Cancer Research

Researchers in British Columbia have engineered a "decoy" molecule that not only successfully blocked the growth of an incurable form of prostate cancer tumor but also shrunk the tumors.

"It's incredibly promising," said Sadar Wednesday of the discovery after eight years of work. "We might even be able to (with more work) completely eliminate the tumour."

B.C. prostate cancer experiment promising

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