A total of 67 patients with progressive stage D2 prostatic cancer refractory to orchiectomy was entered in a controlled clinical trial to test whether androgen priming enhances the efficacy of cytotoxic drugs. All patients were treated continuously with aminoglutethimide and hydrocortisone to lower adrenal androgen secretion and were given cyclic intravenous chemotherapy. In addition, the 34 patients randomized to the stimulation arm received fluoxymesterone for 3 days before and on the day of chemotherapy. There were 33 controls. The median duration of followup was 24 months. A modestly higher response rate (objective remission plus disease stabilization) was observed in the stimulation arm (85 versus 72 per cent, p less than 0.05) when the analysis was restricted to the evaluable patients. However, a larger fraction of unevaluable patients was present in the stimulation group (41 versus 16 per cent), mostly as a result of toxicity from fluoxymesterone, which prompted early discontinuation of treatment. Thus, when data analysis included all patients the response rate actually was slightly higher in the control than in the stimulation arm (60 versus 50 per cent, p not significant). No difference was observed in median duration of response (9 months in both groups) or over-all survival. Our data suggest that at least in those patients with advanced disease androgen priming does not seem to enhance significantly the antitumor effect of the combination of aminoglutethimide and chemotherapy, and is associated with significant toxicity. These largely negative results may be explained by the large number of hormone-resistant cells present in tumors that have become refractory to orchiectomy.
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