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Thursday 01 August 2002

Low dose ketoconazole with replacement doses of hydrocortisone in patients with progressive androgen independent prostate cancer.

By: Harris KA, Weinberg V, Bok RA, Kakefuda M, Small EJ.

J Urol 2002 Aug;168(2):542-5

PURPOSE: High-dose (400 mg.) oral ketoconazole 3 times daily with replacement doses of hydrocortisone has become a standard treatment option for patients with advanced prostate cancer which progresses after androgen deprivation. However, toxicity can hinder the ability to deliver treatment and the cost of the regimen can be substantial. Therefore, a prospective phase II study was conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of a regimen of low dose (200 mg.) oral ketoconazole 3 times daily with replacement doses of hydrocortisone in men with androgen independent prostate cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study included 28 patients with progressive prostate cancer despite anorchid levels of testosterone and ongoing testicular androgen suppression. Treatment consisted of low dose ketoconazole and replacement doses of oral hydrocortisone (20 mg. every morning and 10 mg. at bedtime). At the time of disease progression patients were treated with high dose ketoconazole and continued on the same dose of hydrocortisone. Adrenal androgen levels were measured, and baseline and followup levels correlated with clinical outcome. RESULTS: Overall, 13 (46%) of 28 patients had a prostate specific antigen decrease of more than 50% (95% confidence interval 27.5% to 66.1%). Median duration of prostate specific antigen decrease for all responders was 30+ weeks and 5 patients continue to exhibit a response, ranging from 36+ to 53+ weeks. In general, therapy was well tolerated. There were no grade 4 toxicities. Grade 3 toxicities included hepatotoxicity in 1 patient and depression in 2. The most common toxicities were nausea (29% grades 1 and 2), dry skin (18% grade 1) and fatigue (14% grade 1). Four (14%) patients discontinued low dose ketoconazole due to toxicities. Of the 16 patients who received high dose ketoconazole after disease progression with low dose ketoconazole, 3 were removed from treatment due to toxicity and no patient responded to high dose ketoconazole. There was no difference in the distribution of pretreatment endocrine values between responders and nonresponders, and the magnitude of change in adrenal androgen levels was not associated with response to therapy, although a potential association could easily have been missed due to small sample size. CONCLUSIONS: The regimen of low dose ketoconazole with replacement doses of hydrocortisone is well tolerated and has moderate activity in patients with progressive androgen independent prostate cancer.

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