Quality of life better in men taking abiraterone rather than docetaxel for hormone-sensitive prostate cancer

11 Nov 2021

Men being treated for prostate cancer with abiraterone have better quality of life than those treated with docetaxel. This is according to results from an analysis of quality of life data from the STAMPEDE trial, which was published yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

STAMPEDE results have already shown that both drugs lengthen the time until the disease gets worse among men with prostate cancer who are starting long-term hormone therapy for the first time. Both treatments seem to have similar effects in terms of improving how long men live for. Until now, it was unclear which of the two approaches was better in terms of quality of life.

This analysis compared the quality of life between men on docetaxel versus abiraterone over two years. Both groups of men were also receiving standard hormone therapy at the same time. Men taking part were asked how they would rate their overall health and overall quality of life at each clinic visit over their first two years in the trial. They were also asked whether they were experiencing any problems with day-to-day activities, emotions, thinking, social activities, physical problems and pain or tiredness. These findings come from around 500 men who joined STAMPEDE between 2011 and 2013 and who were randomly allocated to one of the treatment approaches. 173 men on docetaxel plus hormone therapy and 342 men on abiraterone plus hormone therapy completed quality of life questionnaires.

Men who were planned to have abiraterone plus standard hormone therapy rated their overall health and quality of life as better than men who were planned to have docetaxel plus standard hormone therapy. This was especially the case in the first year of treatment. The difference was not large, but it was big enough to be confident that it was not due to chance. Men treated with abiraterone also reported less pain and that they were able to continue normal day-to-day activities better than those treated with docetaxel.

Abiraterone (also known as abiraterone acetate, or Zytiga) is a type of hormone therapy that works in a different way to standard hormone therapy. Docetaxel is a chemotherapy drug that is used to treat prostate cancer.

The STAMPEDE trial is supported by Cancer Research UK, the MRC, the NIHR Clinical Research Network, the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, Pfizer, Janssen, Clovis Oncology and Astellas.

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