Purpose: To determine the activity and toxicity of doxorubicin in combination with cisplatin and etoposide in patients with small-cell prostate carcinoma (SCPCa) and to characterize the clinicopathologic features of SCPCa.
Patients and methods: Patients with SCPCa (pure or mixed), measurable disease, good organ function, and no prior treatment with doxorubicin, etoposide, or cisplatin were treated every 4 weeks with doxorubicin 50 mg/m(2) as a 24-hour intravenous (IV) infusion followed by etoposide 120 mg/m(2)/d and cisplatin 25 mg/m(2)/d IV on days 2 to 4.
Results: Thirty-eight patients (36 assessable for response) were treated for a median of four cycles. Twenty-nine (81%) of 36 patients had prior hormonal therapy. Study patients had visceral metastases, lytic bone disease, and relatively low serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA). We observed 22 partial responses (response rate, 61% in an intent-to-treat analysis); toxicity was severe (grade 3 or 4 neutropenia 100%, thrombocytopenia 66%, mucositis 21%, and infection 68%). Three patients died of toxicity. Median time to progression and overall survival time were 5.8 months and 10.5 months, respectively. Performance status, serum albumin, and number of organs involved (but not PSA, carcinoembryonic antigen, or neuroendocrine markers) were predictors of survival.
Conclusion: SCPCa presents unique clinicopathologic features. Addition of doxorubicin to the etoposide/cisplatin regimen caused higher toxicity in this patient population and failed to improve outcome. Given these results, we do not recommend further development of this regimen for patients with SCPCa. Improvement in therapy will come from understanding the biology of SCPCa progression and integrating new targeted therapies into the treatment of SCPCa.