Weekly epirubicin in patients with hormone-resistant prostate cancer

Br J Cancer. 2002 Sep 23;87(7):720-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6600525.


The aim of this study was to investigate the benefit of weekly epirubicin in the treatment of metastatic hormone-resistant prostate cancer. One hundred and forty-eight patients with metastatic hormone-resistant prostate cancer received weekly 30-min intravenous infusions of epirubicin 30 mg m(2) of body surface area. The primary end-point was palliative response, defined as a reduction in pain intensity and an improvement in performance status. The secondary end-points were the duration of the palliative response, quality of life and survival. Fifty-seven (44%) of the 131 evaluable patients met the primary criterion of palliative response after six treatment cycles and 73 (56%) after 12 cycles; the median duration of the response was 9 months (range 1-11). The median global quality of life improved in 52% of the patients after six cycles and in 68% after 12 cycles. The 12- and 18-month survival rates were respectively 56 and 31%, with a median survival of 13+ months (range 1-36). The treatment was well tolerated: grade 3 neutropenia was observed in 8% of the patients, grade 3 anaemia in 7%, and grade 3 thrombocytopenia in 3%. None of the patients developed grade 4 toxicity or congestive heart failure. Weekly epirubicin chemotherapy can lead to a rapid and lasting palliative result in patients with metastatic HRPC, and have a positive effect on the quality of life and survival.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Androgens / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Epirubicin / administration & dosage*
  • Epirubicin / adverse effects
  • Epirubicin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Quality of Life
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Androgens
  • Epirubicin