Side effects, or what are known as co-morbidities, often discourage men who have metastatic prostate cancer from continuing with chemotherapy (docetaxel). The question often asked is there a relationship between having side effects and the ultimate efficacy of the chemotherapy? In other words does having side effects have an effect on overall survival?

To answer this question researchers performed a population-based outcome study. In the study men with mCRPC were treated with docetaxel at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana between 2005 and 2012. Standard validated scales were used to assess each man’s co-morbidity.

The association between co-morbidity and overall survival (OS) was evaluated using the Cox proportional hazards analysis.

Two hundred and eight men were a part of the study and treated with docetaxel. They found that the subject men experienced; No (2%), mild (32%), moderate (53%) and severe (13%) co-morbidities.

A substantial dose reduction of docetaxel occurred more often in men with moderate or severe co-morbidity as compared to those with no or mild co-morbidity.
They found that at all co-morbidity levels about one-third of men required hospitalization or died during treatment with docetaxel. However, the researchers did find that a higher level of co-morbidity was NOT associated with worse overall survival. (OS).
They concluded that men with mCRPC, who were treated with chemotherapy and have co-morbidities might still gain a benefit (increased overall survival) from treatment with docetaxel.