Researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute have developed a tool for doctors to forecast the potential survival of patients with advanced prostate cancer, enabling them to better and rapidly assess whether to try additional rounds of treatment or seek clinical trials.

The findings are published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“Several new treatments have been developed in recent years that prolong life for men with metastatic prostate cancer,” Susan Halabi, professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Duke and lead author of the study, said in a statement accompanying the study's publication. “As a result, it’s increasingly important to provide a clear prognostic picture that can help guide both doctors and patients to the best options.”

In their study, Halabi and colleagues developed and validated the new prognostic tool using two different clinical trials of prostate cancer patients whose cancer returned after they had undergone a regimen of docetaxel, the standard first-round chemotherapy that is used after hormone treatments have been ineffective.

The researchers' approach provides an understanding of the complex interactions between the host, the tumor factors, and clinical outcomes.

By plugging in 17 variables – including pain intensity, measurable disease, race, age, body mass index and others - the researchers homed in certain key factors that were relevant to overall survival.

 

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