Chemotherapy is the treatment of a disease, including cancer, with any type of toxic chemical. Chemotherapy is designed to kill fast dividing cells (cancer divides more quickly than normal cells); however the drug cannot discriminate against normal cells so numbers of them will also die. Your hair and nails are the fastest dividing normal cells in your body so they are the most visible cells to be affected, along with the cancer cells themselves, by chemotherapy. Treatment of prostate cancer via chemotherapy almost always employs the drugs docetaxel (Taxotere) and cabazitaxel (Jevtana), which are the only FDA approved chemotherapy drugs. However, in some instances where an individual has not ben able to use docetaxel, the breast cancer drug taxol can be used “off FDA label”.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Taxotere (docetaxel) in May 2004 for men with castrate resistant, metastatic disease. Taxotere is administered by intravenous infusion (IV) in combination with the steroid prednisone, every three weeks. Men who experience significant side effects will have a reduced Taxotere dosage administered every week. The higher dosage infusions are considered to be more effective, but the lower dose also works.
Taxotere demonstrated safety and effectiveness in the TAX327 clinical trial of more than 1,000 men, as compared to the previous standard of care for men with castrate resistant prostate cancer who had bone metastases. In this trial, Taxotere provided a mean survival advantage of 2.5 months over the control group receiving the previous standard of care, mitoxantrone.
Taxotere chemotherapy is systemic, meaning it works throughout your entire body. Taxotere targets and kills rapidly dividing cells. Since cancer cells divide more quickly than healthy cells, more cancer cells are killed by the drug than are healthy cells. Taxotere will also kill healthy cells including the normally more rapidly dividing skin, hair follicle, gastrointestinal tract, and bone marrow cells.