Phase II study of ketoconazole combined with weekly doxorubicin in patients with androgen-independent prostate cancer

Avishay Sella, Robert Kilbourn, Robert Amato, Cu Bui, Alexander A. Zukiwski, Julie Ellerhorst, Christopher J. Logothetis

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101 Scopus citations


Purpose: A phase II clinical trial was performed to assess the antitumor activity and toxicity of ketoconazole in combination with doxorubicin (Adriamycin; Adria Laboratories, Columbus, OH) in patients with androgen- independent prostate cancer (AI PCa). Patients and Methods: Thirty-nine consecutive patients whose disease progressed following castration were treated with oral ketoconazole (1,200 mg) daily and Adriamycin (20 mg/m2 in a 24-hour infusion) once weekly. Antitumor activity was assessed by the level of prostatic-specific antigen (PSA) decline. Results: PSA levels decreased ≥ 50% from baseline in 21 (55%; 95% confidence interval, 38% to 71%) of 38 assessable patients. We observed partial responses (PRs) in seven (58%) of 12 patients with measurable soft tissue disease (in the lung, lymph nodes, and liver). Two patients with history of atherosclerotic heart disease had a sudden cardiac death. Serious toxic reactions included grade III to V stomatitis and grade III to IV acral erythema in 11 patients (29%), and grade III to IV anal and urethral mucositis in five patients (13%). Grade III to IV neutropenia occurred in 11 patients (29%). Seventeen patients (45%) required hospitalization for complications. Fifteen patients (39%) developed hypokalemia, and 24 patients (63%) developed clinical adrenal insufficiency. Conclusion: The combination of ketoconazole and Adriamycin has a 55% PSA response rate in patients with A1 PCa and is worthy of additional study. This treatment results in frequent adrenal insufficiency. Therefore, future studies should incorporate routine corticosteroid replacement. The cardiac complications caused by this combination should be studied further before it is widely used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-688
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes


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